January 29, 2007

Movie Review: Sophie Scholl

Yesterday a visiting brother brought over Sophie Scholl-Die letzen Tage, and some of us watched it last night.

It's a powerful film, portraying the final days of Sophie Scholl, her brother Hans and their comrade Christoph Probst, all guillotined by the Nazis in February 1943. They were members of the White Rose student resistance movement.

It's carefully made, and the detail is stunning at times. There is a lot of metaphorical play on light and darkness, which is quite effective when part of the composition of scenes, but sometimes gets a little overwrought all by itself. I found the second act, Sophie's multiple interrogations, to be the most powerful part. One sees her courage against the cowardice of her interrogator, and their conversation approaches any number of critical themes: conscience, law and order, national security, war and non-violence. The analogies to our own time, though perhaps not purposeful, are clear.

Sophie prays at critical plot points throughout. To hear her prayers is almost worth watching the whole movie; they are simple and deep and personal, and are the kind of honest and unpretentious prayers that cut through any vain religiosity.

The film we had was in German with English subtitles. And if you need a happy ending, this one isn't for you.

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