A very moving collection of home videos of WWII
Ruth Henriquez Lyon | Duluth, Minnesota USA | 08/04/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a documentary film comprising home videos shot by six German soldiers at the Russian front during World War II, combined with their present day reflections on the war and the experience of shooting the war. There is a lot of rather disjointed footage from the past, which, together with the current interviews with the soldiers, is skillfully edited into a very unified piece. For me, what is most compelling about this film is not the war footage itself, but rather the soldiers talking about their footage as we watch it. Interspersed with scenes of the war are close-ups of these men as they continue speaking of their experience.....the expressions on their faces, which often belie their words, give an extremely accurate account on the effects of war on its survivors--effects which last a lifetime. Thus, this is not just documentary of interest to World War II buffs. This film should interest anyone interested in the effects of war on people, and by extension, society."
David R. McNamara | Cooperstown, NY | 01/29/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I was deeply impressed with the directors' ability to connect images of film shot by German soldiers in the 1941 Russian campaign with their present-day recollections fifty years after the war. Moving back and forth between vintage footage (some of it in beautiful, vintage color) and interviews, the movie uniquely illuminates the war with the veterans' understanding and interpretation of century-old events. Time changes many young men's views of war, and most of the interviewed veterans seemed to come to sobering and disturbing conclusions of the purpose of the Russian campaign and their participation in the Nazi military effort. Seeing images of Germany and Russia in color also has a profound effect as we are so used to seeing only black and white images of that period that it was almost like viewing the past through some magical history-lens. Anyone with interest in modern European history or World War II will find this film magical, illuminating and haunting. The film does include footage of combat and discussion of atrocities and is probably not appropriate for children."
An insightful video.
M. G Watson | 08/21/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This 90-minute documentary is neat because you get to hear from the six German soldiers why they filmed this or that scene, their thoughts on the progress of the war, etc. Completely unfiltered, which is nice. Lots of down-time footage, e.g. soldiers smoking, etc. Of note: footage of a Russian plane going down, followed immediately by footage of pilot's burnt corpse. Recommended for WWII buffs only."
Seth M. Gunar | New Jersey | 04/17/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've read many books about WWII. This movie did something very rare, it added a new perspective to my understanding of the war. There are no cliches, and there is much you have never seen before. Don't get me wrong when I say this, but I get the feeling that we have turned a deaf ear to anything the Germans have to say about their experience in the war. It is as if this is part of the retribution for the suffering the war caused. We seem to be trying to write their perspective out of the history books out of a sense that their view of things has no legitimacy or out of a fear that it will happen again. Germans are also reluctant to tell their side, I guess out of a sense of guilt. This is all wrong. We owe it to prosperity to get every side so that when people read about this era in the future, they will have a full understanding of what happened. I think this movie goes a long way in that direction."