ALONE IN BERLIN- My Movie of the Month – May

by admin on May 6, 2019

From the opening shots, there is an inevitable feeling of dread about this true story of bereaved German parents, whose only son dies fighting in Hitler’s war. They decide to engage in a tiny act of subversion, in protest against the Nazi propaganda machine.

At first, the wife objects to her husband’s plan to write postcards with anti-Nazi slogans and leave them in public places. In the Berlin of 1940,  the war is now running in Germany’s favour. What is the point, she asks, of this futile act that will surely end with their capture and death?

Undeterred,  the husband continues hand-writing his post cards and placing them more boldly around the city, for the citizens to find and hand over in panic to the secret police, who are outraged by this brazen flouting of the Nazi war machine.

A manhunt begins to entrap the couple, who are now both deeply committed to their foolhardy act of public protest. The postcards multiply and the rattled Nazi authorities redouble their efforts to capture the anonymous writers and punish them.

The husband and wife, working as a team now, risk everything to raise the public awareness of their campaign and are driven to ever more dangerous lengths, to distribute their message of overthrowing the Nazi regime.

But inevitably, the trap is sprung and they are caught by the infuriated secret police. They openly admit their defiance and pay the Nazi penalty of death by guillotine for traitors to the regime.

The film is both a stirring tribute to resistance against tyranny, and an antidote to the popular western notion that all Germans mindlessly swallowed Hitler’s big lie. This ordinary middle-aged couple become a symbol of defiance, challenging us to consider how we might have acted under similar circumstances.

Otto and Anna are believably portrayed by Brendan Gleeson and Emma Thompson in this true-life David and Goliath story.

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