Deutschstunde (\N)

Louis Hofmann, Maria Dragus, Sonja Richter, Tobias Moretti,
Deutschstunde is a movie starring Ulrich Noethen, Tobias Moretti, and Levi Eisenbl?tter. Siggi is in prison during the post-war period. He should write an essay. He remembers that his father was supposed to ban his profession from a...
  • 6.9 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2018-09-07 Added:
  • Siegfried Lenz, Heide Schwochow, Writer:
  • Christian Schwochow, Director:
  • Ulf Israel, Producer:


8 / 10

Moving story in beautiful pictures

Wonderful story of family ties that get untied due to an overachieving Nazi father who values duty more than his own blood. Very well played by all main cast and beautifully shot. On a side note we see how (too) many Nazis remained in power after the War. The protagonist is torn between his love for art and the pain his father causes, so the spectator feels for him as he seems to lose his mind.

8 / 10

A study on duty and responsibilities

Its probably no secret that the individuals 'duty' is one of the main themes in this movie. And it gracefully manages to keep a consistent theme throughout the story without watering it down.

The main character is burdened with duties from all sides: He shall report traitors, while at the same becoming one by whistle-blowing on the artist. The artists begs him to keep quiet, which in turn means to dishonor his father and break an obligation of biblical proportions. His sister puts the responsibility of staying in an abusive family on him, while his brother forces him to keep quiet about his hiding place - by threat of breaking his skull.Wherever the child goes, he is presented with things he must not do, there are rare occasions of uncoditional love, mostly his interactions with humans are: '...but you must not...!'. He experiences life not in freedom but within the boundaries of duties.No wonder his knowledge of obligations fills hundreds of pages.

So, in all these situations, with opposing forces of obligations, which one would be the right thing to do? Speak or keep quiet? Reveal or hide? A or B?

In retrospect, these questions are easy to answer. But this movie puts us in the head of a child without an omniscient perspective, just at the beginning of orienting his moral compass, with magnetic forces pulling on either side.

Its a tragedy, really.

10 / 10

Multifaceted movie

I didn't read the original novel, so the story was completely new to me. It is a wartime movie, with a village policeman (initially) forced to prohibit his friend from painting; common practice in Nazi Germany. But the story has many levels: it addresses the conflict of a father/son relationship (with the painter competing for that role) the battle between good and evil (how can any painting be bad for society?), how do we deal with populism in our own age, how can it be that hardened war criminals simply return and continue as before...?The backdrop of the German coast, with constant rain torturing the characters, complements a very intriguing story that forces the viewer to continue to watch.

6 / 10

Beautifully filmed but rather shallow adaptation of this uniquely german story

Christian Schwochows adaptation of Siegfried Lenz' 1968 landmark novel is a visually striking and competently made movie that sadly misses many subleties that made the story come alive in the first place.

Yes, I have read Deutschstunde not too long ago and was impressed not only by the main story and the quite suspensful thread that runs through it, but also by the honest characterisation of the people of Nordfriesland, their quirks and the subtle description of their beliefs. This was something that was dearly missed here. Of course, several side-characters were omitted from this 2019 movie version, but the main change is that the focus shifts from our protagonist young Siggi, whose thoughts we are told firsthand in the novel, to the depiction of the conflict between his father and the painter Max Ludwig Nansen. And this is where the movie fails: for a story that deals with repressed emotions and the blind need to 'do ones duty', it is played very emotional: there are several instances of flying fists, shooting guns, screaming and crying to the point where it becomes a bit unbelievable. Also, because of the neglect of the highly complex character of Siggi as our focus, we can hardly understand the change he goes through and his actions at the end of the movie can become confusing. This criticism would not be so hard if the movie would try to introduce something new to the story instead of simply retelling the main points and staying closely beneath the surface.

Still there are strong points. The visuals of the raw northern german shoreline are beautiful, but not to the point where some movies lose itself in neverending elegic drone-footage. It is presented more like another character here and this is exactly what this movie needs. Also, some praise must go to Tobias Moretti who as the strong-willed Nansen makes us believe in the need to paint and what it means not only to him but everyone around him. He is the main reason that Deutschstunde is still recommendable and doesn't quite fail as a competent adaptation of one of the most iconic german novels of all time.