Alone in Berlin

Alone in Berlin

DVD - 2017
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How did an ordinary, middle-aged couple become a symbol of defiance against Nazi brutality? This tale of courage unfolds against the tumultuous backdrop of Berlin in 1940. Otto and Anna Quangel are a working class husband and wife doing their best to ride out the war. Their son is killed fighting on the frontlines. They begin pouring their rage and grief into postcards emblazoned with anti-Nazi slogans, risking everything to disseminate their messages of protest across the city.

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BetM Aug 25, 2018

I picked this DVD up simply because it starred Emma Thompson and Brendan Gleeson, two actors who never fail to give top-shelf performances. I was not disappointed.

Set during WWII, Alone in Berlin is based on the true story of Otto and Elise Hampel, a middle-aged working class couple who have become disenchanted with Hitler's regime and decide to take a stand in their own small way. The film is slow and quiet with an understated strength and beauty that lingers long after it's over. The opening shots introduce a story about people rather than war. And time and time again the cinematography focuses on exactly what needs to be seen to deeply know the story. Thompson and Gleeson are stunning--always hitting the right notes with a subtlety that makes you see and feel the Hampels, not actors portraying them.

While watching the bonus features, I learned that this film was inspired by Hans Fallada's 1947 novel, one of the first anti-Nazi novels by a German published after WWII. Even more interesting to me was the fact that it wasn't translated into English until 2009. The director of the film mentioned initially trying to make the film in German but couldn't get enough funding; he eventually decided to create it in English and, in the end, felt that by so doing it elevated the story beyond us vs. them and made it into more of an "anyone of us could be anyone of these people" story. (Note: the actors actually speak with German accents [rather than British ones] -- yay!)

If you're looking to better understand WWII from an everyday German perspective, this offers that...and so much more.

m
MARTHA C BENNER
Aug 07, 2018

Great acting. Hard to watch as I had forgotten how brutal it was during WW2. WE need to keep this from happening again.

c
Calvacade
Jul 18, 2018

Pretty good film with some outstanding performances by the leads.

s
sheila_soprovich
Jun 26, 2018

As someone who's mother lived in the middle of these events, but never spoke of it, this was an eye opener. Stellar performances and a compelling story - this is the kind of history that young people need to see, discuss and learn from so that it never happens again.

a
amanoletters99
May 28, 2018

An excellent period piece, based on a true story about a very sad time in human history. Very well acted, written and directed. You may find this film difficult to watch, but we must know our past, as not to let oppression on this level ever happen again. Well worth the time.

f
flashacross
Apr 30, 2018

My husband and I enjoyed this movie. So grateful that I did not live during that awful time period. So proud of the bravery of this couple, but understand the fear that others felt.

i
INVS
Mar 14, 2018

Any film with Gleason or Thompson, I watch. This is a factual account (a few minor things were changed) as to how difficult it was to oppose the government in charge. I've read/known of other accounts, but this one was new to me. The fear many people felt was palpable from this portrayal. Would I be willing to stand up for justice, principal & humanity in such a scenario? Most likely it would mean torture & definitely death for one's belief/actions. This has nothing to do with religious beliefs, after all Herr H, the monster, was a Lutheran as were most of his followers.

I was very curious as to follow up - Every Man Dies Alone is the book. Another surprise for me was the use of the guillotine at that time. Must have been quick.

j
jazpur
Mar 02, 2018

This is a very moving film based on a true story. beautifully told, acted and portrayed.

Quite a good docudrama about two German anti-Nazis in Berlin. The pace is a bit slow but typical of a European film. Worth a look.

l
lenedwin
Dec 13, 2017

This a true story about a brave, heart-broken, German couple living in Berlin during WW2. To avenge for having lost their 17 year old son on the eastern front they start an anti Nazi propaganda scheme to expose the evil of the system. They defied capture for a long time but were finally discovered after having distributed hundreds of leaflets. They were shown no mercy at the hands of the gestapo.
The filming and acting were superb.

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Notices

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Frightening or Intense Scenes: Moderate.

Violence: Five or so deaths. Not gory or gratuitous.

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King_of_the_Squirrels thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

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j
jimg2000
Sep 06, 2017

You know what they called me in the courtroom, don't you? No? Cold-blooded Fromm. I have a mistress whom I obey. Her name is justice.
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"Hitler's shadow falls over Europe like the devil's shadow. Pass this card on.
Down with the Hitler regime."
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"Mother. The fuhrer murdered my son. Mother. The fuhrer will murder your sons, too."
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"Pass the information. Join the free press. Fear has taken control of you. Kill it. Kill Hitler."
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"Each thought against the national socialists is like sand in the criminal war machine. Pass on this card. Free press."
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"How many children have to die? Fear is their only weapon. Free press."
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"Help us to put an end to the criminal war machine. Free press."
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Do I look like someone who would let his wife dictate things to him?

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