In 1942, Friedrich Weimer's boxing skills get him an appointment to a National Political Academy (NaPolA) - high schools that produce Nazi elite. Over his father's objections, Friedrich ...
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Benjamin is a 16 year old, paralyzed on one side of his body, with lousy grades in math, who switches to a boarding school to reach grammar school. Acclimatization to the new environment is... See full summary »
A re-imagining of Jane Austin's "Pride and Prejudice" set in modern day, rural Virginia with Elizabeth Bennet as a man. Ben Bennet is an affluent but seemingly arrogant attorney who ... See full summary »
In 1942, Friedrich Weimer's boxing skills get him an appointment to a National Political Academy (NaPolA) - high schools that produce Nazi elite. Over his father's objections, Friedrich enrolls, seeing this as his ticket out of factory life to university and a good salary. During his year in seventh column (fifth form), this innocence is altered as Friedrich encounters hazing, cruelty, death, and the Nazi code. His friendship with Albrecht, the ascetic son of the area's governor, is central to this education; a night in the forest hunting for escaped Russian POWs brings things to a head. Written by
Despite its English title "Before the Fall",this German anti-war film actually has the acronyme "NaPolA" for the original title.Outside the English-speaking countries it was distributed and broadcasted under the original German title,namely,"NaPolA". See more »
At least one of the Napola boxers and one of the training officers have pierced ears. Very unlikely, this being set in Nazi Germany. See more »
[reading from his essay]
"As childish as it sounds, the winter time and the sight of freshly fallen snow always fill us with inexplicable joy. Perhaps because as children, we associated it with Christmas. I always imagine myself the hero who killed dragons, rescued virgins, and freed the world from evil. As we went out yesterday to find the prisoners, I felt like that little boy who wanted to save the world."
But as we returned, I understood that I am part of the evil that I ...
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A great film, meaningful, deeply moving emotionally
This film which depicts an elite Nazi teenage male youth training facility takes place in Germany during 1941 or 1942. Students are being trained to become future leaders after Germany wins the war. Much of the training is brutal. Students are taught to win regardless of any pain that their actions might cause their fellow man - whether friend or foe, fellow countryman or enemy. The film tells how the students accept or reject their training and the consequences of their decisions/indecisions.
I saw this film at the 2005 Palm Springs International Film Festival at a "Best of Fest" special showing. It certainly should be a candidate for an academy nomination as "Best Foreign Language Film" but I do not know if it has a distributor for North America. It reminded me somewhat of a 2003 Palm Springs festival entry - EVIL/ONDSKAN (Dir. Mikael Hafstrom/Sweden) - which also packed an emotional kick in the gut that left me stuck in my seat for at least five minutes after the film had ended. Napola is the better of the two films by far. Great acting, script, direction, music, etc. See it on a big cinema screen if at all possible since film makes great use of the colors that will not have a similar impact in a video format.
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