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Like other TV movies of the production company teamWorx, Dresden (2006) focuses on an extraordinary historic event in connection with a tragic love story of a woman between two men. In January 1945, the young nurse Anna Mauth, working at a hospital in Dresden, becomes engaged to senior physician Benjamin Wenninger. At the same time, an English Lancaster bomber is shot down. The pilot Robert Newman, the only survivor, manages to reach the city severely injured and hides in the hospital's cellar. Anna discovers him incidentally thinking he is a German deserter, but finally decides to help Robert... Written by
Simon Goldberg, the Jewish character based on the historical Viktor Klemperer, lives with his non-Jewish wife in an apartment that they have for their own. By early 1945, the real Viktor Klemperer, a Jew who had converted to Protestantism, lived with his non-Jewish wife Eva perched in a so-called "Judenhaus," a house where numerous Jewish families had been put up and kept with only basic provisions. For years, families like that of Viktor Klemperer had been isolated from the non-Jewish German population, and it would have been unthinkable for the wife of a Jewish German to work at a hospital. See more »
Though being called "Dresden", the city only makes a guest appearance
Just like Kleiner_Fuchs after watching this movie and other recent Teamworxx productions like "Sturmflut" I thought that, had Cameron not made "Titanic", these people would probably not rely so heavily on the ever repeated formula of a fictional doomed love with a hazardous historical background (though this is by no means a new concept). Contrary to my predecessor I think that in "Titanic" this worked out fine. But this may be mainly because a ship is a so much smaller microcosm than a city and the actual historical figures,though playing minor parts in the story pop up every few minutes.
It might have worked in "Dresden" as well, had not been the focus so strictly on the English pilot and the Mauth family (plus a few scenes with Annas co-worker and her Jewish partner). From what I have read and seen on TV and listened to I have learned that there are so many interesting and heartbreaking actual stories. I think the makers of the movie should have worked more of them in for it was obvious in the movie that the parts that were the most shocking were the ones that were based on real events - just sad, that they were so few of them.
Also, since the movie was so very focused on a love story that obviously not many people cared about, the structure of this mini-series was somehow awkward. Why make a two-parter about the bombing of Dresden if the bombers don't actually leave the ground until the last scene of part one and only reach the city halfway into part two? Had this been cut down by an hour and shown as one 2-hour TV-movie I believe it might have had a greater impact.
Still I give this movie 6 stars, because the final 45 minutes actually do work. Of course, the focus is mainly an Anna and the two men running around in the city with her but there are many touching and horrifying scenes in which we as viewers get a little insight into how terrible and traumatizing it must have been to be at this place in this night. Sure, the actual events were still much worse and to tell survivors after viewing this one understands what it was like in Dresden is insulting, but it is mostly in small scenes like the one where a group of people asks a young soldier to shoot them because nobody will survive this anyhow, that I felt a big lump in my throat and got a better understanding of the horror than in the (arguably well done for a TV production) scenes of the inferno.
Tha final scene in which the rebuilt Frauenkirche is re-inaugurated worked for me. I think I understood a lot better now, after watching this movie, how important the building was for the people of Dresden, and why for many of the survivors it was a symbol of their wounds slowly healing and coming to terms with these traumatizing events.
But as a whole, this movie is not about "Dresden", thus it should not have this title. It is just about a bunch of uninteresting poorly written, cliché-based cardboard characters that are, though being mostly played by very competent actors, so completely unappealing, that they ruin the movie.
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