All screenings are at Rialto Cinemas on Monday nights at 6:30pmMon 2 March:
Screening: Monday 8 June, 6:30pm
Konrad Wolf | E. Germany | 1968 | B&W | DV | M violence, offensive language, content that may disturb
A wartime story based on director Konrad Wolf’s own experience. After taking refuge from Nazi Germany with his family in the Soviet Union, a 17-year-old marches west from Moscow with the Red Army. He arrives in Germany as a lieutenant aged 19 to witness the fall of Berlin.
Based on the secret diary kept by acclaimed German filmmaker Konrad Wolf while he was a soldier in the Russian Army, I Was Nineteen is the director's most personal film. A highlight of the DEFA collection, Wolf examines his own past through the poetic story of a young German, Gregor Hecker, who as a child fled with his parents to the Soviet Union, but who eventually returns to Germany as a soldier after WWII with the victorious Soviet troops.
Suddenly Gregor finds he is different from his comrades in arms, for this defeated land is his home and the Germans he meets upon his return are his compatriots. Gregor is a victor, but also one of the vanquished. As the Soviet troops advance into Germany, Gregor attempts to understand the Germans he meets along the way. His perspective is that of a nineteen year-old, inquisitive, occasionally uncomprehending, and repeatedly dismayed by the atrocities and lies he encounters.
Gregor falls in love and simply cannot understand the death of a friend in the last hours of the war - the final death in a long line of deaths that pave his way from Moscow to Berlin. An austere, independent minded work of art, the film not only contains many stories about the last days of the war, but also tells Wolf's own story and uses actual documentary footage from the documentary Death Camp of Sachsenhausen (1946), which was one of the first post-war German films about the Nazi period.
(115 minutes, In German with English subtitles, DVD)