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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gritty and tragic but a fantastic piece of cinema
Roberto Rosselini's thought provoking study of post-war Germany. It tells the story of Edmund a young boy coming to terms with his changing role in the society of the time. Although slow and often deeply depressing it has gathered its fans over the years for its powerful vision and is now considered to be one of the greatest and most tragic stories ever told. Not a film...
Published on 10 May 2001

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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Berlin 1946
Historical perspective of the second world war consequences. Dark film and personal tragedy. Italian casst which sounds a little strange in German surroundings.
Published 14 months ago by Staffan Sohlman


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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gritty and tragic but a fantastic piece of cinema, 10 May 2001
By A Customer
Roberto Rosselini's thought provoking study of post-war Germany. It tells the story of Edmund a young boy coming to terms with his changing role in the society of the time. Although slow and often deeply depressing it has gathered its fans over the years for its powerful vision and is now considered to be one of the greatest and most tragic stories ever told. Not a film for everyone although I would recommend it to those who are interested in cinema historically and culturally.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If You Can Take Such an Unvarnished Look at Life in a Defeated Nation, 10 May 2013
By 
Stephanie De Pue (Wilmington, NC USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Germany Year Zero [DVD] (DVD)
GERMANY YEAR ZERO, (1948), (78 minutes), is one of a trilogy of World War II films by the towering Italian master director Roberto Rossellini. It is available as a free-standing DVD, like this one, or in the recent release of Criterion Collection: Rossellini's War Trilogy that presents us with clean, remastered copies of these three memorable films. GERMANY YEAR ZERO is, like the other films in this trilogy, in black and white. In the trilogy, we can see Rossellini invent Italian neo-realism on the screen; he had to, as, at the time he was working, Italy and Germany were nearly destroyed by World War II bombing, there was very little infrastructure left, and it was hard to get film, filmmaking equipment - and everything else. Thus, the director worked with natural light and sound. The trilogy also presents many informative extras: interviews with Rossellini's actress daughter Isabella; interviews with many of the films' actors, and film scholars, and "Once Upon a Time . . . Rome Open City," a 2006 documentary on the making of Rossellini's most influential, important film.

GERMANY YEAR ZERO was filmed on location in Berlin shortly after war's end. It was financed by German firms, and gives us a horrifying snapshot of the misery of civilian life in war-ravaged Berlin shortly after the war. The concluding chapter of the war trilogy is devastatingly intense and effective, a portrait of an obliterated Berlin shown through the eyes of Edmund Kohler, a twelve-year-old boy whom Rossellini told interviewers strongly resembled his own son, who had been dead for a year at the time of filming. Edmund lives in a bombed-out apartment building, where ten families have been jammed into one apartment, with a bedridden father and two older siblings. His older brother Karl-Heinz had been in the German Army and fought up to the end, the corner of the block on which they live, so is afraid of reprisals for this, and accordingly has never registered with the postwar authorities. Therefore, the family of four has only three ration cards. Edmund's pretty older sister Eva gets dressed up to go out every night drinking and dancing. But she does not pursue these evenings to what a viewer would expect to be their obvious conclusion, and therefore comes home every night with only a few cigarettes, rather than cash money, to show for her time. This leaves handsome young Edmund as the sole breadwinner for his family. He is mostly left to wander unsupervised, seeking to bring back money and/or food to these hungry people. Edmund gets involved in the black-market schemes of a group of teenagers. He also comes under the malign influence of a Nazi-sympathizing former teacher of his, whose ideas sway him in anti-social ways. Rossellini seems to be telling us that the boy's former teacher is probably homosexual, and therefore immoral. By the way, as this movie is in Italian, it is fully subtitled, thank goodness.

Rossellini ( Stromboli (1950), Europa '51, both starring Ingrid Bergman) had limited film, and so had to piece together bits and pieces he'd begged from the city's photographers. He wanted to create and release his films as soon as humanly possible after the war's end. Therefore, he built no sets, and, for the first time in Italian cinema, filmed his story entirely on the actual streets and in the actual buildings of Berlin. (He thereby established the Italian cinema protocol of realism, or neo-realism, as they preferred to call it, which held sway in Italian film for several decades.) He also didn't take much time in composing the composition, the lighting - he used natural light--or the shadows of his film, nor in worrying about its sound. Dialog was largely improvised.

If you are interested in history, World War II, or Italy and/or Germany, you probably should see these films, though they certainly can be downers. No contemporary audience can quite imagine how powerful these films were in their time, but, believe me, they are still tremendously powerful, and will certainly live a good long time because of their overwhelming performances and documentary value. GERMANY YEAR ZERO is a gut-wrenching human experience; by no means pleasant or fun. Still, if you can take such an unvarnished look at life in a defeated nation after a monumental war, it is not to be missed.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Germany at Rock Bottom, 24 May 2014
By 
Nicholas Casley (Plymouth, Devon, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Germany Year Zero [DVD] (DVD)
Rossellini’s 1948 film of Berliners trying to cope with the immediate aftermath of defeat in the Second World War won many plaudits on its release, but also received much criticism. Shot in the summer of 1947, its style places it firmly in the school of cinematic realism, and the introduction has the feel of a documentary before we become involved in the drama.

Over seventy minutes, it tells the story of a boy, Edmund, and his family when food, money, even living space is tight. Black markets, dodgy dealers, ‘ex’-Nazis live amongst the rubble. Edmund’s attempts to benefit his family and himself eventually lead to tragic consequences. It’s a film full of drama amongst the destruction, and one is never bored as we follow Edmund’s adventures, but the film was criticised on release for being too pessimistic. (Apart from one screening in the 1950s, it was not shown in Germany until 1978!)

Unfortunately, despite being in the ‘realismo’ school of Italian movie-making, the film still occasionally features the hallmarks of histrionic Italian melodrama. Most of the (many non-professional) actors spoke German, which was then dubbed into Italian, and we now comprehend what is being said by way of English subtitles! It’s a little disconcerting to see Germans in their capital speaking Italian, and a little unfortunate that the distributors of this DVD did not provide an option for having the original German soundtrack – but does it still exist? It is also unfortunate that this famous film, the climax to Rossellini’s war trilogy, comes with no extras.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 2 April 2015
By 
M. Foster "Viking Mike" (Londinium) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Germany Year Zero (DVD) (DVD)
Fantastic image of post war Berlin
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars cult movie, 5 Jun. 2012
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This review is from: Germany Year Zero [DVD] (DVD)
great film! one of the most important italian's film, important example of postwar, see Berlin destroyed is impressive! perfect packaging and very fast shipping
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Berlin 1946, 11 Feb. 2014
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This review is from: Germany Year Zero [DVD] (DVD)
Historical perspective of the second world war consequences. Dark film and personal tragedy. Italian casst which sounds a little strange in German surroundings.
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0 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Without a doubt..., 19 April 2014
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This review is from: Germany Year Zero [DVD] (DVD)
... The worst film I have ever seen. Utter trash, even for its time. Muddled Eurotrash that should never have lasted long enough to be put on DVD.
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