War

Rüdiger Suchsland – Hitlers Hollywood AKA Hitler‘s Hollywood (2017)

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This documentary examines the German cinema from 1933 when the Nazi’s came into power until 1945 when the Third Reich collapsed.
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Aku Louhimies – Tuntematon sotilas AKA The Unknown Soldier (2017)

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Synopsis:
A film adaptation of Väinö Linna’s best selling novel The Unknown Soldier (1954) and the novel’s unedited manuscript version, Sotaromaani.

The film’s setting is based on the unit Väinö Linna served in during the Continuation War, Infantry Regiment 8 (Finnish: Jalkaväkirykmentti 8). It follows a fictional Finnish Army machine gun company in the Karelian front from mobilisation in 1941 to armistice in 1944. The soldiers of the company are sympathetic but realistic portraits of men from all over Finland with widely varying backgrounds. Their attitude is relaxed, disrespectful of formalities, and business-like, even childish and jolly, throughout the story despite the war and the losses the company suffers. The film also occasionally shifts to the homefront. Read More »

Angelina Jolie – First They Killed My Father (2017)

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Synopsis:
Cambodian author and human rights activist Loung Ung recounts the horrors she suffered under the rule of the deadly Khmer Rouge.

Review:
In the Western world today, the Khmer Rouge are remembered first and foremost as a Communist organisation – true enough, but simplistic enough that key components of their ideology get overlooked. Among these is their obsession with the idea that children – raised with as little education as possible to keep them ‘pure’ – should determine Cambodia’s future. Their idolisation of children not only contributed to some of the worst abuses that took place under their regime, but highlighted the problems at its core. Despite their supposed innocence, some children were considered more equal than others. Read More »

Zbynek Brynych – …a páty jezdec je Strach AKA …and the Fifth Horseman Is Fear (1965)

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Synopsis:
Dr. Braun is forbidden to practice medicine because he’s a Jew living in Nazi occupied Czechoslovakia. He’s old, seems resigned about the fate of the Jews, and even works in the Department of Confiscation of Jewish Property. One day a neighbor asks him to assist a wounded political fugitive. Dr. Braun reluctantly operates to remove the bullet, but warns that plenty of morphine will soon be needed in order to keep the man from screaming when he awakes, which would attract unwanted attention. After some soul searching, Dr. Braun decides to redeem himself and reclaim his identify as a person and doctor by continuing to provide assistance. His search for the scarce morphine takes him on a nightmarish journey which includes a brothel where local women are forced to be prostitutes for German soldiers, a bar where the locals try to drown their misery in booze and dancing, and a Jewish insane asylum with a high suicide rate. Meanwhile, in a world where there is constant propaganda instructing people to report any suspicious or disloyal activities, it may only be a matter of time before someone in Dr. Braun’s apartment building call in the state police.
— TimeNTide (IMDb) Read More »

Wanda Jakubowska – Ostatni etap AKA The Last Stage (1948)

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Martha Weiss, a Jew, is sent to Auschwitz concentration camp with her family. On the first day of their arrival Martha is, by a coincidence, chosen as an interpreter, but her entire family is killed. Waiting for the Red Army to deliver them from the prison camp, the film depicts Martha and her friends’ struggling life under the tyranny of camp guards and equally bad ‘capos’, administrative personnel chosen from among the prisoners.

The Last Stage (Pl. Ostatni etap) was a 1947 Polish feature film directed and co-written by Wanda Jakubowska, depicting her experiences in the Auschwitz concentration camp during World War II. The film was one of the earliest cinematic efforts to describe the Holocaust, and it is still quoted extensively by succeeding directors, including Steven Spielberg in Schindler’s List. Read More »

Anne Pick & William Spahic – Iris Chang: The Rape of Nanking (2007)

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In July 1937 the Japanese Imperial Army, which already controlled a large section of northeastern China, launched an undeclared war against the Republic of China. Five months later, on December 13, its troops entered the capital city of Nanking and began raping and murdering its citizens in an orgy of violence that has few parallels in modern history.

Tens of thousands of Chinese prisoners-of-war were machine gunned en masse. An estimated 20,000 women were raped. Countless defenseless civilians; men, women and children were killed on the streets or in their homes. A British reporter who was on the scene compared the Japanese troops to Attila and the Huns. Writer George Will described the mass slaughter, which became known as “The Rape of Nanking” as “perhaps the most appalling single episode of barbarism in a century replete with horror.” Read More »

Andrzej Wajda – Popiól i Diament AKA Ashes and Diamonds (1958)

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Introduction & Synopsis from Allmovie.com
This is the last film in the trilogy that began Andrzej Wajda’s career as a director. Preceding this wartime drama are Pokolenie (1955) and Kanal (1957). Once again, Wajda presents a strong anti-war statement, this time in the personae of two men who are given orders on the last day of World War II in Poland to murder a leading communist. The orders come from the part of the resistance that opposes the new communist regime. One of Wajda’s favorite performers and a friend, Zbigniew Cybulski, plays the man who eventually pulls the trigger and kills the communist leader — and the results are not what he expected. In 1959, Popiol I Diament won in competition at the British Academy Awards and at the Venice Film Festival. Read More »