Watched this on a BA flight, with English subtitles - excellent mini-series charting the experience of 5 young Germans in the main part of the 2WW, going from confidence and excitement through to (and we all know the ending of the war) despair and realisation. It is not an easy path and a number of the characters develop in unexpected ways, and it is interesting to see the development of the war from the German viewpoint. Annoying that a subtitled version is not yet available - I even e mailed the production company!
I am presuming this is the German version with no subtitles. Watched on RTE (N. Ireland) Dec 2013, titled Generation War. BBC2 bought the rights in August 2013 and I believe it is to be shown at Easter 2014. Pre-ordering with English subtitles now seems to have been put back to 1 April 2014, to build the hype I guess!
Was gripped from the first episode, each 1.30 mins. I'm no expert on history but found the focus on the German/Russian front a new slant. My grandfather was lost on the Russian front, so for me especially poignant.
It is the stories of five young friends throughout WWII. A German production, with nothing held back. One review recalled that a generation was passing away without their stories being told. This series recounts some of those. I found it absorbing, moving and harrowing.
Any attempt to represent the Russian front impartially is almost certainly going to alienate one or other of the various participants’ descendants. And so it is with this production, which does have its fair share of controversy! It tells the fictional story of 5 twenty something friends, all of whom are native Berliners, as they each in their own way prepare to deal with the looming crisis of the drive to gain Hitler’s ‘Lebensraum’. The need for this ‘living space’ was outlined in the infamous Mein Kampf dictated to his lackey, Hess, when both were languishing in Bavaria’s Landsberg Prison following the failed Munich Beer Hall Putsch in 1924.
Two of the friends are brothers, the eldest, Wilhelm (Volker Bruch), who is a junior army officer, and his pacifist brother, Friedhelm (Tom Schilling), a private in the army, are shortly off to participate in Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of Russia, which begins on June 22nd 1941. Two are girls, Charlotte (Miriam Stein), who is in love with Wilhelm, and Greta (Katharina Schuttler), an opportunistic, somewhat cynical would be singer, working as barmaid. The final member of this group is Viktor (Ludwig Trepte), who is Jewish and therefore, perhaps, the most unlikely. Some critics were left open-mouthed’ at the improbability of any twenty-something Germans, having had nine years of Nazi indoctrination, enjoying friendly relations with a Jew. However, Viktor and Greta’s relationship is a little more than friendly and in the opening scene during which the group assembles in the bar for the last time before they all have to go their own way, Greta establishes a fateful relationship with an SS officer who interrupts their party, in order to save Viktor from discovery.
Other critics have poured scorn on the production for seemingly ignoring any aspect of the holocaust, for depicting ordinary Germans as victims of Nazism rather than more than willing participants and portraying Polish partisans as rabid anti-Semites. Nevertheless, the series is brilliantly acted and does succeed in illustrating certain aspects of Hitler’s ‘War of Annihilation’ on the Russians. As such it represents a welcome addition to other similar series such as ‘Band of Brothers’ also, with some justification, not without its critics, which serve to educate succeeding generations about the satanic nature of Nazi Germany.
I first saw this film with english subtitles on a BA flight from Bangkok to London. I bought the DVD but unfortunately did not come with subtitles. I found the film very powerful depicting the lives of 5 young people and their individual journey through WWII. I am really pleased that this German film did not glorify the German position but actually showed the misery and pointlessness of war.
This is the same film as Generation War as shown on BBC. It is considerably cheaper. However, be sure that you can do without English sub-titles.It has only German subtitles for the hard of hearing - No English . However it t is ideal for German Language students
An engrossing vision of war from the German perspective. Five friends stories of a brutal war where not just the soldiers suffered. Each story is engrossing and shows the war from differing views, the soldiers x2, the nurse, the Jew, the Berliner. Battle scenes are graphic but not gruesome, where fear is strong, terror is ever present and heroism is missing... survival is paramount with indiscriminate bullets and bombs ever present. The Jewish element is well handled, especially the selling out of German Jews.. The scars of war on society is explored but not fully covered, but the feeling that it changed so many people in such a devastating way is well portrayed. Will buy once released in UK. Shown in Australia (on SBS) with subtitles.