A mill owner in the Sudetenland and his family’s lives are changed as Europe heats up in 1938.
Habermann (Czech: Habermannův mlýn) is a 2010 Czech-German-Austrian drama film directed by Juraj Herz. In the story, a German mill owner in the Sudetenland and his family’s lives are changed as Europe heats up in 1938.
The German-Czech-Austrian production “Habermann” is being marketed — with the tagline “War is over; vengeance has begun” — as a look at a corner of history that is little known in America: the expulsion of millions of ethnic German civilians from parts of Europe after World War II. It’s a tricky tale to tell; the film’s opening and closing scenes of Germans in Czechoslovakia being rounded up and loaded onto trains consciously echo the familiar imagery of Jews being sent to Nazi concentration camps.
“Habermann,” however, consists almost entirely of the background to those brutal scenes. It’s the story of the title character, a more or less good German and minor-league Schindler who tries to mitigate the worst excesses of the seven-year Nazi occupation of the Sudetenland while protecting the Czech workers at his saw mill. As directed by the Czech veteran Juraj Herz in prestige-television style, the bulk of the film is a classically proportioned and tasteful wartime soap opera. Even though we know the closing spasm of violence is coming, it’s so out of tune with what’s come before that it’s more disorienting than powerful.
The depictions of cosmopolitan Germans and mostly avaricious, bestial Czechs are likely to stir strong emotions among some viewers, but over all ‘Habermann’ is more potboiler than political or historical statement. A subplot involving Habermann’s half-Jewish wife sits awkwardly athwart the central story, supplying pathos and dangerously facile analogies.
(From New York Times)
1.36GB | 1h 44mn | 720×304 | avi
Language:German, Czech, Latin
Subtitles:English, Czech (srt)