Tuesday, October 06, 2009

A Woman in Berlin

From the desk of The Movie Snob

A Woman in Berlin (B+). Longtime readers of The Movie Court may remember that I reviewed the book this movie was based on a few years ago. The book is a remarkable one. It is an anonymous diary by a woman who was in Berlin when it was conquered by the Soviet Army in April and May 1945. She was a journalist, so she was well-equipped to record what it was like for the Berliners as they struggled to survive--first, the final days of the war, and then the brutality of the Soviet occupation. She first tried to publish the diary in the 1950s, and she was widely condemned in Germany for publicizing the humiliations that the Germans had suffered, especially the widespread raping of German women by Soviet soldiers. Only after the author's death was it republished a few years ago. From everything I have read, it is generally accepted as an authentic diary and an accurate record of the events depicted. It is a gripping read, but it caught me by surprise that a movie had been made of it. It is faithful rendition to the book, as best I can remember the book, although it seems that the movie skimps on the beginning of the book , before the arrival of the Red Army, and on the end, when things become more normal and the diarist is put to work at various jobs. But the acting is good, and the movie successfully makes its points without being too graphic or lurid.

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