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The Ninth Day (2004)

Cast: Ulrich Matthes, Ulrich Matthes, August Diehl, more...
Director: Volker Schlöndorff, Volker Schlöndorff
    see all cast/crew...
Studio: Kino
Genre: Drama, Foreign, Costume Drama/Period Piece, Germany
Running Time: 93 min.
Languages: German
Subtitles: English
    see additional details...

Acclaimed filmmaker Volker Schlöndorff directed this story of a war of words between a Nazi soldier and a man of the cloth. In 1942, Henri Kremer (Ulrich Matthes) is a Catholic priest who, like three thousand other Catholic clergymen, has been sent to the Dachau prison camp by Nazi authorities for espousing his faith and speaking out against the Axis leadership. Shortly after Kremer receives word that his mother has passed away, he's pulled from the ranks at the camp and sent to Luxembourg, where he used to live and lead a congregation. While Kremer at first believes his well-connected family has arranged for his release, he soon finds this is not the case -- Untersturmfuehrer Gebhardt (August Diehl), a ranking member of the Gestapo, informs Kremer that he's been given a nine-day respite from the camp for a special assignment. Kremer is well acquainted with Bishop Philipp (Hilmar Thate), leader of Luxembourg's Catholic community, and the Nazis want the bishop to sign a letter pledging full cooperation with German authorities, something he has been unwilling even to discuss. Gebhardt wants Kremer to persuade the bishop to sign the document; if Kremer fails to meet this goal, he's told 18 priests from Luxembourg currently in Dachau will all be killed. What Gebhardt prefers not to mention is that if he can't find a way to secure the bishop's cooperation, he'll be transferred from his comfortable post to a death camp in Eastern Europe. Der Neunte Tag was based on the true story of Luxembourg priest Father Jean Bernard, who wrote of his experiences in the book Pfarrerblock Z4587. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Christian Concentration-Campers by talltale January 20, 2006 - 12:47 PM PST
1 out of 1 members found this review helpful
Volker Schlondorff's THE NINTH DAY is a very fine addition to the Holocaust canon: specific, thoughtful and different from most others in that it deals with a Christian concentration camp inmate jailed for his "subversive activities." Initially extremely upsetting (due to its restrained but still quite graphic depictions of violence), it soon becomes more a philosophical exploration, as it tells the story of an imprisoned priest who is given a difficult choice.

The performances are first-rate and the direction crisp and pointed, almost never giving in to sentimentality. As one who regularly insists he has seen his last Holocaust movie (but then keeps making exceptions), I am very glad to have tackled this one. You may well feel a distinct--perhaps slight, somewhat ironic--sense of elation at film's end: Unusual in this type of story, but that's another of the surprises to this worthwhile movie. The DVD interview with the director (who speaks excellent English) is worth seeing, too.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 7.21)
14 Votes
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