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A Woman in Berlin (2009)

Cast: Nina Hoss, Irm Hermann, Rüdiger Vogler, more...
Director: Max Färberböck
    see all cast/crew...
Studio: Strand Releasing
Genre: Drama, Costume Drama/Period Piece, War, WWII
Running Time: 131 min.
Languages: German, Russian
Subtitles: English

The horrors and moral compromises of war set the stage for this harrowing drama from director Max Färberböck, based on a true story. An anonymous female reporter (Nina Hoss) is living in Berlin in the spring of 1945; most of the city has been reduced to rubble by bombing, the German army has been decimated, and most of those left behind are expecting the arrival of Russian troops and fearful of what awaits them. The reporter is one of a number of women who are hiding wherever they can in the city, expecting that they will be raped and brutalized by the Russians. It doesn't take long for their worst fears to be realized as the emotionally ravaged Russian soldiers take out their anger and frustration on their new captives. But the reporter, who can speak Russian, is determined not to allow herself to be violated by the soldiers, and she decides to curry favor with a Soviet officer who will then protect her from his underlings. The reporter's plan works as she becomes the lover of Major Andrej (Yevgeni Sidikhin), an officer with decidedly mixed feelings about his work. But as the reporter trades consensual sex for the safety Andrej can give her, both are aware who is the victor and who is a captive, and elsewhere in Berlin both German survivors and the soldiers occupying Berlin show the scars of war as they bring out the worst in one another. Anonyma -- Eine Frau in Berlin (aka A Woman in Berlin) received its world premiere at the 2009 Berlin International Film Festival. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Amazing View of War by a Journalist Who Lived It by jmwagner66 January 14, 2012 - 9:50 PM PST
1 out of 1 members found this review helpful
This is a fine film. The book by the same name is even better. Due to constraints of time and the number of characters a viewer can track, several characters are collapsed into one. That is unfortunate.

Still, this remains an excellent representation of the 8 weeks during which Berlin was under seige just prior to the end of the war. One woman living there write in detail and without emotion, about her experiences. Rapes, attacks, stealing food, hiding, helping and not helping others. This film, along with the book are important records of the time.

The woman wrote her journals as the events unfolded. It is an immediate record rather than a reconstruction. Of course the film must of necessity include reconstruction of details and actions not recorded.

This film is an excellent partner to "Come and See." In "A Woman in Berlin" the atrocities committed by Russian (Allied) troops are detailed. In "Come and See" the attrocities of the Nazi (Axis) troops are shown. It becomes clear that no participant in the war, or any war, is a "good guy," at least not at a national level. In "A Woman In Berlin" as in the other film, you do see the occassional member of the military who maintains his/her humanity through it all, but not an entire fighting force for any country.

This is also a very well made film. The action takes place in very few locations, partly due to people's movement being so limited during this time, and yet the feeling of a city being razed is conveyed. The acting is impeccable, and the color palette is spot on.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 8.00)
6 Votes
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