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Fourteen-year-old György's life is torn apart in World War II Hungary, as he is sent to a concentration camp, where he is forced to become a man, and learns to find happiness in the midst of hatred, and what it really means to be Jewish.
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 »
The basic idea of this film is rather interesting. There was a catholic priest from Luxembourg imprisoned in the concentration camp Dachau during the Second Word War. He wrote a diary describing daily camp life. But for 9 days he is allowed to get back to his family for the funeral of his mother. It is known that he is interrogated by the GESTAPO. But he does not tell anything about it in his diary. So the film fills the historic gap with some fiction. We are told the story of a young Nazi official who tries to convince the priest to get his bishop to stop his passive resistance. So far so good. Quite conceivable that this actually happened. But. The whole thing is just not believable. The dialogs are weak, so far as there are dialogs at all. Most of the time Uli Matthes, who is supposedly one of the best German actors, is silent. You just see his face with an expression that you can put anything into. That of course is impressive. But it is not acting. We are told that he is brilliant, but it is never shown. He just has switched uniforms. He recently played Goebbels in the Downfall. What I had expected was some real intellectual argument between the Nazi guy and a catholic intellectual. There is next to nothing of it. Some argument about Judas but it is never clear what this is supposed to proof. There is never a moment of doubt about the outcome of the "intellectual battle". And because of this the film is a failure. Very good music, though and some good scenes of the concentration camp life.
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