A group of German infantrymen of the First World War live out their lives in the trenches of France. They find brief entertainment and relief in a village behind the lines, but primarily ... See full summary »
Georg Wilhelm Pabst
1941, the Third Reich seems to be winning the war. Luftwaffe (air force) general Harry Harras enjoys the good life as highly respected technician and Berlin ministry/ HQ official. However ... See full summary »
Alexandre, a young and honest farmer, is oppressed by an authoritarian wife, who makes him work like a dog. When she dies in a car crash, he decides to stay in bed, absolutely free and ... See full summary »
Paris, 1942. Robert Klein cannot find any fault with the state of affairs in German-occupied France. He has a well-furnished flat, a mistress, and business is booming. Jews facing ... See full summary »
King Frederick II (aka "Frederick the Great") of Prussia is engaged in a major battle against the Austrian army at Kunersdorf, and things aren't going well. The Austrians are inflicting ... See full summary »
This can be considered one of the very last films to be made in Nazi Germany - it passed the censorship in March 1945, but for obvious reasons didn't make it to the cinemas as the street battles were about to commence in Berlin in a few weeks. It's true that at least three new movies had their opening nights in Berlin as late as in March 1945, and reportedly two in April, which seems quite unbelievable. In most of his films Helmut Käutner succeeds in creating a world of his own, a sort of microcosm that holds only the people that we see on the screen. He did also excel in historical costume epics, but his forte was a simple, intimate film about what goes on in the soul. People often wonder, how is it possible that Käutner managed to create his films which are seemingly totally free of any kind of propaganda or references to the war and destruction around him during the time when propaganda was becoming the only remaining weaponry. But I don't think that's quite true: if Under the Bridges were made in a period of peace, it would totally lack the mesmerizing feeling that is attached to this film as we view in proper context. Suddenly it becomes amazingly human, allowing us to realize that even as most of the people in Germany must have thought they were facing total destruction and annihilation literally any day soon, they still kept living and loving and at some point the inner world must have eclipsed the world outside, were death was running amok. Being of the generation that hasn't seen war, I can only imagine how intense one's love or loneliness can grow in the world where there seems to be no tomorrow.
Whatever the story or the genre, Käutner manages to find aspects that make it interesting and wake a lot of human compassion. His storage of empathy and his skills to share it are bottomless. He truly was a great maker of great films about little people.
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