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Stars (1959)

Sterne (original title)
The tragic love of the Jewish girl and the Nazi officer is presented as a symbol of human purity defeated by fascism and racial prejudice.

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Cast

Credited cast:
Sasha Krusharska ... Ruth
Jürgen Frohriep ... Walter
Erik S. Klein ... Kurt
... Bai Petko
Georgi Naumov ... Blashe
Ivan Kondov ... Ruth's father
Milka Tuykova ... Partisan
Shtilyan Kunev ... Doctor
Naicho Petrov ... Police Govenor
Elena Hranova ... Starata evreyka
Leo Conforti ... Nervous jewish man
Grigor Vachkov ... Montyor v rabotilnitzata
Yuriy Yakovlev ... German officer
... Jewish Man (as Itzhak Finzi)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Georgi Banchev ... Woodman (as Georgi Bantschew)
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Storyline

Bulgaria, 1943. A train carrying Greek Jews is bound for the Auschwitz extermination camp and stops over in a small town in southwest Bulgaria. The school is converted into camp. Passing by the barbed-wire fence, the the Nazi army sergeant Walter meets a young Jewess called Ruth and falls in love with her. His buddy, Lieutenant Kurt, who is in charge of the camp, has her brought to a party in the pub. There Walter has a chance to talk with her. Having grown indifferent to people suffering, he is now awakened to unsuspected emotions and experiences a change of heart. When he next meets the girl, Walter convinces her that Nazism and war. Her fate and love make anew man of him. He gives a package of medicine for the inmates of the camp to Petk, a Bulgarian antifascist worker, but the German find them and destroy them. Walter is making arrangements for Ruth's escape. He asks Petko to hide her but it is too late. The train has left. Walter realizes that it is not enough to be ethical only ... Written by Georgi Djulgerov <georgidjul1943@gmail.com>

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Genres:

War | Drama

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Details

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Release Date:

23 March 1959 (Bulgaria)  »

Also Known As:

Stars  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Featured in Die Nacht der Regisseure (1995) See more »

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User Reviews

beautiful yet empty film
30 October 2004 | by See all my reviews

This East German film by Konrad Wolf did not reach the West until after the Cold War, and is rarely seen today. It concerns the story of a corporal, named 'Walter' (although his real name is never known) and played by Jürgen Frohriep with quiet complexity, and his relationship with interred German Jewess Ruth (played by the beautiful and powerful Sasha Krusharska) against the background of Nazism in Bulgaria, populated by inhuman oafs like Kurt (a repellent character played well by Erik S. Klein), and freedom fighters like Petko (Stefan Pejchev) and Blashe (Georgi Naumov).

The film was made in 1959, centering on events in 1943, when the Jews were rounded up, held prisoner, and eventually shipped to the death camp at Auschwitz. It does not flinch from their predicament, denied medicine, herded together like cattle, huddled quietly and hopelessly in congested rooms. The music score uses Jewish songs to pinpoint the action and underline scenes which are otherwise silent - panning along the faces of the refugees in their dignified acceptance of their situation, or following the death transports as the men, women, and children are packed into carriages and sent away from Bulgaria like animals going to the slaughter.

The power of this film is in its matter-of-fact treatment of what the Germans did to their Jewish countrymen and compatriots, in the name of racial purity, and how out of this one human relationship between - on the surface of it - enemies could grow and flourish. This concentration on Walter and Ruth makes the ending (also the beginning of the film, before the flashback) all the more poignant and touching.


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