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 »
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
During Friedrich's glider flight, his helmet is securely strapped at the start but is shown unstrapped a few seconds later. He kept both hands on the glider's yoke. 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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The subject matter is not unfamiliar - a decent German (in this case a talented young boxer) fights to retain his humanity in the face of Nazi pressure to lose it as a bad habit. At heavy cost to himself he refuses. And thinking back to the beginning of the movie we should not be surprised: to accept the invitation to attend an elite academy he must defy his father. To maintain his self-respect later on he must defy the surrogate fathers he has acquired at the academy.
This a superbly produced, directed film. The young actors' performances are believable and affecting. And for people who care about such things, Max Riemelt as Friedrich, the young, virile, gorgeous protagonist is a very easy guy to look at. Jim Smith
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