2006 - Germany - 180 minutes
Director - Roland Suso Richter
Writer - Stefan Kolditz
Internet Movie Database User Rating - 6.6/10 - Link to IMDb
My Rating - 4 of 5 Stars

Even though this German television film is high melodrama, its quality and insight overcome any clichés that might appear in the plot. World War II in Europe is on the wane. Germany is basically defeated but refused to give up. On a mission into Germany an English bomber pilot and his crew are shot down. Those who do not initially die in the crash are killed by villagers all save the pilot who manages to escape. Wounded, he seeks shelter in a hospital and is discovered by a nurse. She hides him and gives him medical help. She soon discovers that he understands her, because his mother was German.

The pilot is dumped into a melodramatic mess in which the father of his savior nurse - the head of the hospital - is withholding pain killer from the wounded German soldiers and citizens in order to sell them on the black market and buy his family a way out of Germany before the inevitable defeat. Not only that, the nurse's intended is a self-serving coward. It seems that the only one around who lives up to the German ideals is the wounded British pilot. Needless-to-say, a love affair blossoms between the nurse and the pilot.

But surrounding all of this melodrama is the story of Dresden written and produced by Germans whose view of the situation and the lives of the everyday citizens of a city that will soon become an incredible, flaming oven of death is insightful and horrifyingly realistic.

This film was excellently produced with a quest for accuracy - an accuracy that is hard to view but one that is necessary for anyone who contemplates the inhumanity of war. It is clear that the bombing of Dresden was more of a punishment of Germany rather than an attack needed to end an already devastating war.

There is much to learn in the special features of the DVD that add to the rewards of the film. If you - like myself - knew of the firebombing of Dresden, have read a little, but didn't know much more, I think you will find this a worthwhile viewing. Plus, there's a nice love story with agreeable actors.

Neil Turner
March 2, 2008