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In World War II, after a period living hell on earth in the concentration camp of Dachau with other catholic priests, Father Abbé Henri Kremer gets a nine days leave to return to his home town for his mother's funeral. Along this period, the SS Gestapo lieutenant Gebhardt tries to persuade Henri, who was born in silver-spoon and member of an influent Luxembourgian family, to convince the local bishop to give-up resisting to the Germans and write a letter to the Vatican in the name of the Catholic Church of Luxemburg convincing the Pope to support Hitler and the Nazi regime. The ambivalent Henri questions himself and the bishop what he shall do. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
While their fellow-prisoner is being crucified, the priests are singing the hymn "Pange, lingua, gloriosi" by Thomas Aquinas (1264). However, they are singing a German version of this song, which was not in use before 1969. In addition, even if they happened to know a German version, it would be more likely for them to sing the original Latin version, as there were priests from all over Europe imprisoned in this block. See more »
I have no great sympathy for the Catholic Church, but I found the movie quite moving while watching it. There were some rank-and-file Catholic (and Protestant) clergy who spoke up against Nazism. They paid a heavy price - in part because there wasn't an outcry on the part of the higher-ups in the church hierarchy. They were more interested in keeping their perks and playing nice with the powers-that-be. This silent betrayal is very well conveyed in the movie.
Unfortunately some of the other dramatic elements don't work as well. I think the movie would have been stronger if Henri Kremer's relationship with his family -- his sister especially, who was willing to put her life on the life so he could flee to freedom -- had been more fleshed out. They don't even show their parting! So although I was interested throughout the movie, it was not quite satisfying.
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