7.4/10
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7 user 7 critic

My Private War (1990)

Mein Krieg (original title)
Late in the 1980s, two documentary film makers found six German men, all in their 60s and 70s, who had been soldiers in the German invasion of the USSR in 1942. Each carried an 8mm camera ... See full summary »
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Cast

Credited cast:
Erich von Manstein Erich von Manstein ... Himself (in Kiev) (archive footage)
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Storyline

Late in the 1980s, two documentary film makers found six German men, all in their 60s and 70s, who had been soldiers in the German invasion of the USSR in 1942. Each carried an 8mm camera into battle and they still had their film. "Mein Kreig" alternates between interviews with these older men, now apologetic, philosophical, or defiant about their participation, and the footage they shot. It's chronological: basic training, the train trip East, roof-top vistas of war-torn Warsaw, peasants in Belarus, the downing with carbine volleys of a Russian plane, winter, a holiday at the Black Sea, mud, impassable roads, death, destruction and retreat. "Home, that was the front," one says. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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Genres:

Documentary | War

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Details

Country:

Germany

Language:

German

Release Date:

April 1991 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

My Private War See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color
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Trivia

The photographs being developed in one scene show the famous Austrian conductor Herbert von Karajan. See more »

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User Reviews

 
A great documentary that appears to have no hidden agenda
15 October 2012 | by ToonRaiderSee all my reviews

"My Private War" is exactly that; a World War II documentary with the freedom to pursue the personal truths of six German soldiers, unhindered by the finger wagging of moralists.

One of the criticisms of this piece is its lack of probing questions. For me, that's its strength. We have more than enough footage of soldiers being questioned about their personal motivation for getting involved in the war. Surely, that is a stupid question to ask anybody swept up in the rise of the Third Reich? One of Nazi Germany's greatest 'strengths' was her ability to crush any and all opposition. Never before has such a controversial doctrine enjoyed such popularity. Do we expect that mere individuals should have had any power to reject its mesmerising allure? Even those more enlightened individuals, who knew all too well the evil that was lurking ominously around the corner, could do nothing to stop it. How then could anybody expect one of the smallest cogs in such a powerful machine, a cog threatened with its own merciless destruction and the destruction of those it loved, to resist? Asking that question is just insulting and brings nothing to the table other than yet further humiliation. As one of the German soldiers says himself: save me from answering that question.

It's been 70 years; those that ever will, have already repented.

Anyway, what I loved about this documentary was its admiration of pure fact. Opinion, other than that freely expressed by the soldiers themselves, is neutral.

It's a great homage to the wonderful adage: the camera never lies.


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