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SOPHIE SCHOLL - THE FINAL DAYS

SYNOPSIS:
In Munich in 1943, Sophie (Julia Jentsch) and her brother Hans (Fabian Hinrichs), as members of the White Rose resistance against the Nazis, are arrested by the Gestapo after secretly distributing subversive leaflets at their University. Interrogated for days, Sophie bluffs her interrogator Robert Mohr (Gerald Alexander Held) but Hans eventually confesses. Sophie tries to protect the White Rose members, but on February 22 they and their helper, Christoph (Florian Stetter) are tried, found guilty of high treason and sentenced to death, to be executed on the same day. Sophie has little time to say goodbye to her family...

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
There are many films about the war, the Nazis, the concentration camps, heroism in battle and the general devastation of Hitler's reign, but relatively few films deal with the stories of those Germans who played a quiet, desperate role in the resistance. This is one of the latter, carefully researched and aided by more recently discovered archival documents. It's important exactly because it reveals that there were indeed Germans who were not seduced by the concept of Hitler's total war, of military Germany's aggression and its treatment of Jews and others it overran. And perhaps the biggest irony of all, is that the Scholls and their peers were based in Munich - the birthplace of Hitler's foul fantasy.

The subject matter apart, the film is a meticulously crafted drama, observing and recording the events, setting mood and creating a sense of time and place that further deepen our involvement. By the final act, we are deeply moved on a human level which is where the Scholls really operated, even though it was politics that dragged them there.

Julia Jentsch delivers a dignified, layered characterisation which has rightly won many accolades and awards around the world. While Fabian Hinrichs as her brother Hans has a smaller role, it is pivotal to the circumstances, and Gerald Held gives the interrogator Mohr a morally complex and strangely fascinating character.

The film is sombre and sad and it asks us to consider how we would fare in such a situation - a question well worth asking, as it leads to the revulsion of all that State sanctioned hatred or discrimination begets. Of course, the other significant point that the film underlines is the power of humanist ideas in the face of morally corrupt regimes: they so endanger those regimes that the machinery of state must destroy these students, armed only with a burning idea about freedom and a pen or a typewriter. And that's because ideas are more dangerous than guns.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

SOPHIE SCHOLL - THE FINAL DAYS (M)
(Germany, 2005)

Sophie Scholl - Die letzten Tage

CAST: Julia Jentsch, Fabian Hinrichs, Gerald Alexander Held, Johanna Gastdorf, Andre Hennicke, Florian Stetter, Johannes Suhm, Maxmilian Bruckner, Jorg Hube, Petra Kelling, Franz Staber, Lilli Jung

PRODUCER: Fred Breinersdorfer, Sven Burgemeister, Christoph Muller, Marc Rothemund

DIRECTOR: Marc Rothemund

SCRIPT: Fred Breinersdorfer

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Martin Langer

EDITOR: Hans Funck

MUSIC: Reinhold Heil, Johnny Klimek

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Jana Karen

RUNNING TIME: 116 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Gil Scrine Films

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: July 27, 2006







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