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After Nazi Germany unconditional surrender in 1945, the Allied Control Council responsible for film censorship issued a list of German and Austrian films forbidden to be shown to the general public, to prevent the propagation of Nazi ideology.
As of today, I have only seen 4 of the 175 films (2.29%)
The list was created with the aim to report "100 films that have changed the collective memory of the country between 1942 and 1978". The project was established by the Venice Days ("Giornate degli Autori") at the Venice Film Festival, in collaboration with Cinecittà Holding and with the support of the Ministry of Cultural Heritage. The list was edited by film critic Fabio Ferzetti in collaboration with the director Gianni Amelio and the writers and film critics Gian Piero Brunetta, Giovanni De Luna, Gianluca Farinelli, Giovanna Grignaffini, Paolo Mereghetti, Morando Morandini, Domenico Starnone and Sergio Toffetti.
As of today I have seen 43 of the 100 (43%)
Of course it is not one of Cayatte's best film like _Justice est faite (1950)_(qv) or _Avant le déluge (1954)_(qv), but it is for sure a very gripping story served by a Gabin equal to himself - even though we are used to see him in this kind of role; and a very hard, yet vulnerable Sophia Loren in one of her last meaty roles (with the exception of the brilliant _Una giornata particolare (1977)_(qv)). Cayatte was in the second half of his career by then and was able to do this film with a top-notch cast after the immense success of his unforgettable _Mourir d'aimer (1971)_(qv)) about the "Gabrielle Russier case". Once more Cayatte shows the flaws in the judicial system very well as he has done in the past. A film to rediscover if you have not seen it before, you will be kept on the edge of your sit. If you have, you will take pleasure in seeing two of the best actors in the history of cinema playing together for the first and last time.
Ich klage an (1941)
A film more about choices than Nazi propaganda
I have studied the influence of politics on European cinema, particularly in France, Italy and Germany; and whilst one cannot totally dismiss the link between this film and the Nazi euthanasia programme, for me this film is more about choices... It asks the following question: "Would you assists someone you love and who is suffering if he/she would ask you?" as opposed to whether euthanasia should be made legal or anything like that. Opposite views are illustrated by the two main male characters: Thomas (played by Paul Hartmann) who is the one who "helps" Hanna to die, and Bernhard (played by Mathias Wieman) who is initially totally against the idea (Hanna has asked him to help her die, but he refused). Propaganda is about trying to convince people that your views are the right ones or justify your choices or actions. This film does not try to do either, and the proof is that it ends before the verdict is rendered... I honestly don't think this film would be considered controversial if it was done today, or indeed would it be considered Nazi propaganda...
Forces occultes (1943)
Dangerous Vichy propaganda
"Forces occultes" represents Vichy France's most determined effort at nazi propaganda.
The film depicts the rise of a young MP who, to further his career, joins the French Freemasons. He subsequently starts to believe that along with the Jews, they deliberately want to push France into a war against Germany.
This is, of course, pure odious Vichy propaganda...
At the Liberation, screenwriter Jean Marquès-Rivière, producer Robert Muzard and director Paul Riche (real name Jean Mamy) were all severely punished for their overt collabaration with Vichy and the Nazis. On November 25th 1945, Muzard, also the director of the popular magazine "Ciné-Mondial" was condemned to 3 years imprisonment. Jean Marquès-Rivière, who had fled France, was condemned to death, to National degradation (loss civil rights as a French citizen); all his assets were also confiscated. Director, Jean Mamy (a.k.a Paul Riche), a journalist at the French nazi newspaper "Au pilori" and a fierce anti-semite was also condemned to death. He was shot by a firing squad at the Montrouge fortress on March 29th 1949.
Captain Corelli's Mandolin (2001)
Not since 'Breakfast at Tiffany's' have I felt cheated by the ending of a film.
Everyone who has read Louis de Bernieres's fantastic book will agree that we have been deprived of a perfect ending to a perfect story, thus a great cinematic moment. Without the intended end I felt totally robbed.
Many will say that it is not advisable to see the movie adaptation of a book one has enjoyed so, because one feels inevitably disappointed and 'Captain Corelli's Mandolin' unfortunately doesn't escape this widely accepted truth. To cram such a rich book in two hours is admittedly no easy task and many incidental, yet succulent passages are bound to disappear; yet all controversial aspects have been deliberately erased. All references to communism (Mandras joining the partisans is a significant theme in the book) or homosexuality (Carlo's love for Captain Corelli) have been omitted. This suggest the clear intend of the film makers: Making a commercially successful film at the expense of the story, and that is a real shame... but let's face it, isn't it what Hollywood has always done and continues to do even more: treating us like children who have to be shielded from potentially 'controversial' themes.
Of course if one hasn't read the book, 'Captain Corelli's Mandolin' is first class entertainment.
The photography is glorious, the music superb (especially Pelagia's March) and the acting is quite impressive. No-one will deny that Nicolas Cage is a perfect Corelli, as well as John Hurt who makes a splendid Dr Iannis (even if he appears at time a bit too youthful at times). Penelope Cruz is simply radiant with beauty and strength. Given that most aspects surrounding Mandras are absent from the film, Christian Bale, sporting a very decent Greek accent, manages nonetheless to convey the great sense of loss his character suffers when Pelagia ceases to love him. In the book, Drosoula (played by Irene Papas) is supposed to be an ugly old hag which couldn't possibly qualify the amazingly youthful and energetic Papas who hasn't lost her magic touch. Only David Morrissey strikes a discordant note as Weber, the SS man. He sounds far too British and posh to be a convincing nazi.
Le dernier sou (1946)
Gem of a film
"Le dernier sou" was completed in 1943 but not shown until 1946. Continental Films, who produced it, although French by name was in fact in all intends and purposes a German production firm. When Paris was liberated in 1944, all productions from Continental Films were confiscated, and "Le dernier sou", was shelved for several years. It was eventually released on January 23 1946 but was only ran for a week. It was not until 1982 that the Cinémathèque du Palais de Chaillot in Paris showed this gem of a film. Those lucky enough to have seen it discovered it was a very good film (scripted by Louis Chavance who also wrote 'Corbeau, Le (1943)') remarkably served by very talented actors.