Germany, Year Zero

  • 1947
  • 1 HR 15 MIN
  • NR
  • Drama, War

One of cinema's most frightening films, GERMANY, YEAR ZERO concerns one of the most frightening periods of history. Directed by Roberto Rossellini on the streets of Berlin, the film takes place at a point between two eras--the "year zero," between the awful violence of Hitler's fascism and the Holocaust, and the German people's subsequent realization of...read more

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One of cinema's most frightening films, GERMANY, YEAR ZERO concerns one of the most frightening periods of history. Directed by Roberto Rossellini on the streets of Berlin, the film takes place at a point between two eras--the "year zero," between the awful violence of Hitler's fascism and the Holocaust, and the German people's subsequent realization of these horrors and their implication in them. It is a film about the limbo between past and future--that interminable present when history must start anew. The film follows Edmund (Edmund Moeschke), a 12-year-old who lives with nine adults in miserable conditions, just barely surviving on their meager ration cards, living with daily fear that their heat or gas will be cut off. The boy's father is on his deathbed, while his brother, a former Nazi, must live in hiding (and therefore gets no ration card) to keep his past from catching up with him, leaving it up to Edmund to take care of his family. Edmund has no opportunity to live as a child or even attend school; too young to work, he spends his days trying to find food, barter on the black market, or do occasional jobs (such as selling records of Hitler's speeches to Allied soldiers). When he meets a former teacher (Erich Guhne), a homosexual fascist who procures young boys for an ex-Nazi general, Edmund gets it into his head that the strong must have the courage to kill the weak. Since everything in his life revolves around the number of mouths he must feed, Edmund decides to poison his father, believing it is right to kill the sickly old man. At this point, "year zero" begins for the boy, who finds the moral weight of his actions too much to bear. This is the third part of Rossellini's "War Trilogy," preceded by OPEN CITY and PAISAN. The videocassette is in German with English subtitles, but is one of the least legible examples of subtitling you're likely to find.

MIXED-ISH - In "mixed-ish," Rainbow Johnson recounts her experience growing up in a mixed-race family in the '80s and the constant dilemmas they had to face over whether to assimilate or stay true to themselves. Bow's parents Paul and Alicia decide to move from a hippie commune to the suburbs to better provide for their family. As her parents struggle with the challenges of their new life, Bow and her siblings navigate a mainstream school in which they're perceived as neither black nor white. This family's experiences illuminate the challenges of finding one's own identity when the rest of the world can't decide where you belong. (ABC/Kelsey McNeal)
MYKAL-MICHELLE HARRIS, ARICA HIMMEL, ETHAN WILLIAM CHILDRESS

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