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Germany Year Zero (1947)

Cast: Edmund Meschke, Edmund Meschke, Ernst Pittschau, more...
Director: Roberto Rossellini, Roberto Rossellini
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Studio: Image Entertainment
Genre: Classics, Drama, Foreign, Italy, Classic Drama, Classic Drama
Running Time: 71 min.
Languages: Italian
Subtitles: English
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In the third and final film of Rossellini's WWII trilogy, the director shifts his focus from his native Italy to the bombed-out ruins of Berlin, where 12-year-old Edmund Koehler struggles for survival. Among the nine people he lives with are: a father, who is suffering from malnutrition and a fatal illness; a brother, who is a former Nazi soldier hiding to avoid arrest; and a sister, who has turned to prostitution. Scouring the rubble-strewn city for food, money, and cigarettes, he comes upon a former teacher, Herr Enning (Erich Guhne), who evinces a barely restrained sexual attraction to the boy while providing him with records of Hitler's speeches that can be bartered on the black market. He also drums into the boy a classic piece of Nazi propaganda about the importance of having the courage to let the weak be destroyed. Under his influence, the confused young protagonist heads down a tragic path. ~ Michael Costello, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Lesser Rossellini by talltale August 24, 2005 - 4:38 PM PDT
5 out of 5 members found this review helpful
Recommended, I would think, only to diehard fans of Roberto Rossellini, GERMANY YEAR ZERO is an odd little film detailing the dreadful days of Germany just after WWII. Early on, there is enough exposition to choke the proverbial horse--and nearly as much sermonizing. Add a musical score than lets (almost) no moment get by merely on its own quiet merit, and you have a fiasco in the making. And yet: Rossellini's sense of justice, love for humanity and skill at neo-realism almost takes the movie into decent territory.

Unfortunately he used German actors, dubbed them into Italian, and we now have English subtitles with which to guide us. The Italian spoken, which is so very different from the German language, makes for a bizarre soundtrack, adding to the unreality of the whole enterprise. I like the work of this director, so despite the film's many flaws, I'm glad to have seen it. Tamp down your expectations, and you'll probably manage better than I.

This title is currently unavailable on disc or is no longer in-print.

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GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 6.71)
41 Votes
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Cinema Italiana

Coming Soon from Criterion: Pietro Germi's Seduced and Abandoned and Francesco Rosi's Hands Over the City
Berlin, Berlin.
Originally a Daily 5, I thought I'd add a few titles.

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