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Top Customer Reviews
I've seen few films that capture the turmoil of adolescent identity and identification so well. True, the Nazi era is the backdrop, but the themes couldn't be more universal. In that respect, it is also more relevant today, in 2004, than during the 1980s, when it was filmed--especially in America, where the American identity has been deconstructed so as to be hardly palpable. Also, it is equally relevant in Europe, where national distinctions could meld into a Confederacy if not a Union of some power.
Politics aside, this is an intensely personal film, one where the unquestioned identity of youth (German) falls victim to oncoming War and cruel happenstance. Perel must continually revise his vision OF himself and FOR himself, and at one point wishes for nothing more than to be an Nazi, for a beautiful young German girl becomes enfatuated with him. How did he end up in this position, wearing the uniform of the Hitler Youth at an Elite boarding school in Berlin? Or lose his virginity to a high-ranking female Party member while he is escorted by train from the Eastern Front to Berlin, as a Folk Hero (Volksdeutscher Held). Perhaps you think it unimaginable. I do not.
I've seen places in German where the remnants of Jewish culture and tradition are clear as day--such as a former High School for Jews in Berlin--with Hebrew and German inscribed clearly in the stones.Read more ›
This is a TRUE story of incredible luck (so incredible as to be quite unbelievable) and pluck through a very dark time in history. If it weren't for so many coincidences, Solomon Perel would not be around to tell his amazing story.
You might recognize Julie Delpy (who plays Leni, the Nazi girlfriend) from French flims such as "White" and American films such as "Before Sunrise" and "An American Werewolf in Paris". She does a fine job here, as does the handsome young Marco Hofschneider in his role as Solly. (What other films is he in and where can I get them?, I sometimes ask myself...)
If you are trying to learn German, watch it first with the subtitles, and then on the second viewing, try taping some paper over the subtitles on your tv screen (of course you should take the paper off during the part in Russian, unless of course you also happen to be studying Russian). If you are at least an intermediate German student, you will gain a lot from such a viewing. The language is clearly spoken, and not overly difficult. I have done this several times myself, and have found it incredibly helpful.
There are a couple of scenes that may be offensive to sensitive people, and if you think of showing it in an American classroom, those are the parts you'll be forced to fast forward... (my German teacher found this out the hard way, but fortunatly there were only 4 of us in the class, and none of us complained).
Overall, very highly recommended!
Like Swing Kids, Lucie Aubrac and Schindler's List, Europa Europa avoids the "white hats" and "black hats" approach to the characterizations. Yep, a lot of the Hitler Youth were decent kids, however misguided, and yes, some of the German military were just honest soldiers doing a job. It is this humanizing of the German and Russian sides that really draws you into this remarkable young man's (true) story.
It is staggering to think that he could evade exposure for so long, given that the Germans, like the British, never circumcized male babies except for medical reasons. Apart from all of the chaos and imminent physical danger, this "will he won't he be discovered" adds an almost unbearable level of tension to what is already a gripping movie.
The nonsensical racial purity classes underscore the ideas put forward by Dr. Angela Davis that race and even gender are more of a social construct than a question of biological essence.
An astounding tribute to the courage and resourcefulness of a true survivor in a world gone mad.
What was going on was 'Europa, Europa', an outstanding and often funny (true) story of a teen of German-Jewish extraction named Jupp who in 1939 was in the Communist Youth League in one of the Soviet-occupied Baltic territories, and ended up being captured by the Germans when they invaded the USSR in 1941. Naturally he concealed his Jewish identity and, believing him to be Volksdeutsch (a non-German of German blood, and therefore automatically a German citizen under Hitler's laws) the Wehrmacht drafted him as a soldier-translator. This begins Jupp's double life....a few months ago he was a Communist and a Jew, and now he's a German and a Nazi....just imagine this kid's confusion. The soldiers of his unit adopt him as a sort of mascot, and even when one of the soldiers discovers his secret, he does not betray him. The mutual affection between Jupp and the soldiers becomes real over time, and leads to Jupp's first crisis of identity: how can he be friends and comrades with men who believe Jews are evil, sub-human scum? Things get even more complicated when the violently anti-Semetic commander of the unit offers to adopt Jupp and send him back to Germany to join a Hitler Youth hostel. Out of the frying pan, into the fire.
Jupp finds the Hitler Youth both a dream and a nightmare. On the one hand, much of the Nazi propaganda turns out to be true -- the boys are tough, fun-loving, comradely, and loyal.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Arrived timely and as promised. Compelling film. Watched with my 15 year old to show him the horrors of the holocaust and that people will do what they must to survive attempts at... Read morePublished 3 months ago by D. Sherman
At least on a small screen, the pace was a bit slow in the middle, and the brief dream/vision sequences may be jarring. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Richard D. Erlich
This is a superb but very emotional film that will have the hairs on your neck standing on end and a lump in your throat permanently in place throughout. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Jimmy
This is such a wonderful film, loosely based on Solomon Perel's memoirs. It does a solid job capturing the ideologies, attitudes and events on both sides of the Eastern Front... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Joe
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