Europa ★★★★

This visually striking, often beautiful, film opened my eyes to a situation I'd never really given much thought to -- what life was like in Germany immediately following WWII. The sense of shock and of guilt, the material deprivation and devastation... It's all thrown into sharp relief here as our hero, a German-American pacifist, returns to Germany to work as, of all things, a train conductor. His travels being him into the orbit of a prominent industrial family as well as of the Allied officers trying to determine that family's share of the responsibility for the war and its outcomes. Did they hide Jews, as they claim, or were they complicit with the Nazis? Or both ? Meanwhile, the fabled Werwolf guerrillas are still about and battling the Allies in secret, and have even enlisted adorable children in their cause. All beautifully photographed in black and white with startling spot color, and brought to subdued, pensive life by Jean-Marc Barr and the great Barbara Sukova, with evocative, hypnotic narration by none other than Max von Sydow. I don't think this film is in quite the same league as The Element of Crime, but it'll do!

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