Sunday, October 7, 2012

Habermann

Directed by Juraj Herz, this movie takes an in depth look at the Nazi occupation of the Sudetenland in 1938 by focusing the story on how the invasion and the subsequent occupation of the country, impacts a specific family. August Habermann (Mark Wascjke) has been operating the family lumber yard and sawmill for a long time. He’s wealthy, a pillar of the community and, as the film opens, the new husband of Jana, the prettiest woman in the village. It’s a perfect life that is soon sent toppling to the ground as the German army moves in to ‘liberate’ the country from its Czech oppressors. Family and friends become divided upon political lines, trusted comrades become informers. Most shocking of all, Jana’s birth certificate shows that the father who abandoned her to be brought up in a convent was actually Jewish, making her, in the eyes of the new German government, a criminal. Herz keeps the tension levels cranked up high throughout the movie, while at the same time giving the actors — especially Ben Becker as the evil Sturmbannf├╝hrer Kurt Koslowski – time to fully flesh out their roles. It’s a delicate balancing act, and an unforgettable movie.

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