As the Berlin Wall crumbles, Katrine, the daughter of a Norwegian woman and a German occupation soldier, finds her idyllic life disrupted as she refuses to testify a trial against the Norwegian state on behalf of her fellow "war children."
Europe 1990, the Berlin wall has just crumbled: Katrine, raised in East Germany, now living in Norway since 20 years, is a war child: the result of a love relationship between a Norwegian woman and a German occupation soldier during World War II. Katrine enjoys a happy family life, with her mother, her husband, daughter and grand-daughter. But when a lawyer asks her and her mother to witness in a trial against the Norwegian state on behalf of the war children, she resists. Gradually, a web of concealment and secrets is unveiled, until Katrine is finally stripped of everything, and her loved ones are forced to take a stand: What carries more weight, the life they have lived together, or the lie it is based on?Written by
Germany's official submission to the Best Foreign Language Film category of the 86th Academy Awards 2014. See more »
The photo printing shop that Katrine works in featured the Fujifilm Frontier 350, a laser printer with a digital scanner attached. This photographic printer was not released onto the market until 2000. See more »
This drama takes place in 1990, shortly after the demolition of the Berlin wall had begun. This was a time when a young Norwegian lawyer felt that there was a good chance of winning a lawsuit against the Norwegian Government for reparations for the children of the Nazi Lebensborn program. Begun in 1935 the goal of the Lebensborn program was to produce more Aryan children for the Third Reich, mainly by way of Nazi leaders producing plentiful offspring. The program was expanded to occupied countries whereby Nazis would mate with with local unmarried women with many, but not all, of the offspring brought back to Germany.
The story unfolded in a way to keep my interest. On the one hand Katrine, the main character, is seen as the wife of a Norwegian submarine captain--part of a close, happy family. But early on she is seen on a flight out of the country where she completely transforms her appearance. At that point I was hooked to find out what her story was and I appreciated the slow reveal leading to some intensely dramatic scenes. The story is complicated enough to make it hard to describe without revealing plot details.
I had never heard of the Nazi Lebensborn program and this movie shows how focusing on personal experiences can explicate history in a more attention grabbing way than reading a history book. I wish there had been more explanation of the basis for the lawsuit against the Norwegian government. A little research on the topic explains how shabbily, and even cruelly, the Lebensborn children were treated, with the assent of the Norwegian government.
All the actors are in fine form--it's good to see that age is not keeping Liv Ullman off the screen.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this