Alone in Berlin (2016)

Based on a book by an author given access to old Nazi files, this film depicts of a brave couple, who simultaneously rediscover themselves—and each other—as they enter a new phase of marriage. The couple’s grief over losing their son to the war leaves then disillusioned with the promises of the Hitler’s regime. The two become one team, who circulates messages of resistance to Nazi power. Rather than churning out yet another heavy-handed treatment that risks turning the entire era into a cliché, the context of this film is a time when people were not only under duress to turn a blind eye to national atrocities but hadn’t grown up in a culture where people—particularly the working class, women, etc.—had ever been allowed personal opinion.

Production initially lost traction due to lack of funding so the decision was made to film in English. Though the supporting cast is mostly German, the main characters are played by non-German European actors, which ended up giving a sense of collective responsibility. It feels more like a call to action meant to inspire viewers to consider their own roles in life, rather than inviting them to be spectators of a bygone event. At no point does the story lag or do the actors overact, which would be easy to do. Its ultimate triumph is in the integrity and courage of two seemingly insignificant individuals, who chose to stand alone together.

 

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