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Sophie Scholl -- The Final Days


When I was 12 or so I read a book called The Short Life of Sofie Scholl, and it made such an impression I still feel caught up in it 15 years (oh my) later. When I heard a film was being made I had the unsettling conflicting feeling that consists of raw enthusiasm and trepidation -- it is a story worth telling, but I did not want to see it mishandled.

Sophie Scholl was 21 years old when she was executed in February 1943, together with her brother and a friend. They were all members of the White Rose (die Weiße Rose), an anti-Nazi movement, based in the philosophy department of the University in Munich, which used non-violent means like the distribution of leaflets to fight the totalitarian regime. You can read more about them here.

My fears for the film were unfounded. It contained good acting, excellent photography, beautiful colours, and horror just outside. The horror of it was particularly effective because it wasn't the main focus. It was always present, but subtle. I don't quite now how to explain it. It was not dwelt on, as I would expect it to be in a Hollywood version (I am sure one will come along any day now), but hovered around the strong red colours and the silence and the low tones, the restraint of the main character.

I think of German as a hard language. And whenever Germans are angry, it is. But this film also underscored how it can be a quiet, low key language, one which is more wind-like than rock-like. The good guys spoke quietly, the bad guys shouted. It was all about quiet dignity and having right on your side.

I kept catching myself hoping she would get out of it, that she would convince them she was innocent, that they would all be all right. All the while knowing it wouldn't. This wavering back and forth between hope and reality was very effective; affective, even. It made it possible to watch it without being drained of energy in the face of certain doom.

There have been a few films lately in which the resistance to Hitler in Germany has been the main focus. I'd wager much that this one is better than Valkyrie.

It should certainly be watched. It is worth your time.

Comments

Tor,  28.06.10 14:48

German is a cool language, which I should definitely take the time to learn properly. I remember when Philip, the German AFS-student, read the label on a box of candy sugar as if it was a flaming political speech. Good stuff.

Anders K.,  28.06.10 19:07

German is a beautiful language, and this is a beautiful film. And Valkyrie was actually better than expected, mainly because every other actor than the main one were excellent. Had they kicked Tom Cruise out of it, I'd definitely watch it again. (There is, of course, the unconfirmed but not unbelieveable rumour that the film was financed by his wacky church, in which case there's not much to do about it.)

Camilla,  28.06.10 19:14

Well, Bill Nighy can carry any film, and I know Eddie Izzard was in it. I should probably give it a chance.

Kjellove,  28.06.10 22:28

Denne (dramadokumentar) er også OK.

Anders K.,  28.06.10 22:58

For å gå gradvis over til 100% dokumentarisk materiale: Like etter å ha sett filmen, hadde jeg gleden av å finne en Aftenpost fra juli 1944 på en bruktsjappe, med nazi-versjonen av det som skjedde. Når jeg er i Oslo igjen, kan jeg godt scanne og legge den ut.

Camilla,  29.06.10 00:33

Oooh. Ja, takk.
Camilla,  21.02.11 17:38

hva med denne Nazi-artikkelen?

Anders K.,  22.02.11 10:28

Innledningsvis føler jeg meg forpliktet til å informere om at det ikke er noen h i verken "så" eller "ja". Så til saken:

Dessverre ble jeg kastet ut fra min bopel uten varsel tre dager etter at jeg skrev den kommentaren. Siden da har hele mitt fysiske arkiv vært oppbevart på et lager på Ensjø. (Her jeg bor nå er det uansett ikke plass til å åpne scanner-lokket.) Men ettersom jeg har en ny, romslig bopel fra og med i går, regner jeg med å snart kunne innfri mine løfter.

I mellomtiden kan jeg jo tilby en godbit fra mitt digitale arkiv, som også sier litt om mannen som kastet meg ut:


Wow

Tor,  22.02.11 10:35

Innledningsvis føler jeg meg forpliktet til å informere om at det er en h i hverken. Med mindre du snakker om bestemt form av vondt et sted. Jeg vil også samtidig informere om at jeg er oppmerksom på at det er tillat å skrive hverken uten h, men det er fortsatt feil.

Leide du også hos denne fyren? Han er i alle fall mer fargerik enn alle jeg noen gang har leid hos, tilsammen.

Anders K.,  22.02.11 10:55

Jeg velger meg verken. Og jeg valgte meg også denne fyren som huseier. En av de mer fargerike jeg har vært borti, uten tvil. Når han var i godlune, for eksempel når han fikk fortelle om alle horene i Japan på trettitallet eller dengang han drev en suksessrik toalettbørstefabrikk, var alt i orden. Men når han ble sint, for eksempel hvis hans russiske veteranbil (en slik) streiket (som var ganske ofte), eller når han mimret over sin tid i tysk tukthus (1943-45, sånn apropos artikkelen) da var det krise og bare å gjemme seg. Det er ikke så mange slike folk lenger. Det er litt dumt og litt bra.
Camilla,  31.01.12 13:18

Har du fått tak i arkivet ditt nå?
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