This has to be one of the best films ever made about War in general ,but specifically to Understand the militarisation of a people living under National Socialism . It also explains how the Nazi regime glamourised the military and exploited Youth eager to display Valor in the military sense , in a group.
The detail and pathos are amazing , witness the shot of the boys on parade from above, evoking their loss of individuality as they join the war machine in its last desperate attempt to stave off the inevitable defeat.
Also impressive is the scene where the troops cascade down stairs ,one lad forgets his rifle ! Army slang is used to portray the veterans who have grown cynical. Easter bonnet for helmet , and popgun for rifle !
Each of the boys character ,stemming from their differing backgrounds, are developed with great sensitivity. There is sadly little around to compare with this ,and it is likely to be found in European cinema . These countries have the deepest understanding of the world wars from being occupied etc . I think The French film; 'A Very Long Engagement ', Has the same artistic integrity , and of course much Russian cinema ,which is little known in the west. A must for a German perspective on WW2 .