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Bonhoeffer: Agent of Grace

NR CC

The story of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German clergyman of great distinction, who actively opposed Hitler and the Nazis. His convictions cost him his life.

Starring:
Ulrich Tukur, Johanna Klante
Runtime:
1 hour, 25 minutes

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Format: DVD
I recently purchased this DVD from Amazon, because I'm a fan of Director Eric Till's great movie "Luther". To be honest, I had never even heard of Dietrich Bonhoeffer before and I knew very little about the underground German resistance to Adolf Hitler in WW2. Till's movie raises an interesting dilemma, what is a religious person who believes that our elected leaders were placed over us by God do in a time savage immorality? Bonhoeffer, a Lutheran Minister, could have fled Germany to safety; but instead, chose to actively oppose Hitler. I was amazed at how Bonhoeffer kept his faith in his Savior, Jesus Christ, while his world was crumbling around him. Till's effort portrays a man who continued to minister to the needs of others while others would have quit -- myself included. Bonhoeffer: Agent of Grace won the Best Film Award at the Monte Carlo Television Festival in 2000. I highly recommend this movie.
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Format: VHS Tape
This made-for-TV movie quietly made an appearance on PBS several years ago and then disappeared, but may now be kicking around on the
shelf at your local library, or just maybe at your video store. You'd do well to look and see if you can find it, because in its unassuming way it
is a powerful exploration of the particular duty of good people when evil prevails and a testament to the life and death of one remarkable man.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a leading Protestant theologian who returned home to Germany from the United States when World War II began,
writing to Reinhold Niebuhr :
I must live through this difficult period of our national history with the Christian people of Germany.
Once home, though a pacifist, he reluctantly became involved in various anti-Nazi activities, eventually even participating in a plot to
assassinate Hitler, which obviously failed. He justified this course of action because :
I believe it is worse to be evil than to do evil.
Bonhoeffer was arrested on April 5, 1943, but when authorities could not determine how deeply involved he was, they simply held him without
charges or trial and it seemed possible he eventually might be released. During his time in prison, he wrote a series of remarkable, often
heartbreaking, letters. If Anne Frank affects us with her innocence and our sense of a life unlived, Bonhoffer first saddens us with the hopeful
tone of his early letters and then awes us by the serenity with which he faces the prospect of his own death.
The film tells this whole story, but does so in rather scattershot fashion. Unless you know the story ahead of time, it is often difficult to tell
precisely what is going on and how all the characters and situations relate to one another.
Read more ›
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Format: DVD
For anyone with any interest in WWII and the Nazi regime this film is worth watching. It is the biography of Deitrich Bonhoeffer who was a Lutheran minister and a counter spy for the resistance movement during the war.

The film highlights Bonhoeffer's religious faith and theology, discusses his family and friends, and explains how he came to be a martyr for the German resistance movement.

I am not a history buff or particularly interested in religious theology, but I thoroughly enjoyed this film and learned a lot from it. My husband who is a history lover and knew much of the history during this time period appreciated the life on Bonhoeffer and learned some things he didn't know about the government and daily life in Germany at the time.

This film is well worth watching.
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Format: VHS Tape
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, author of Ethics, The Cost of Discipleship, and Life Together (to name but a few) embodied the commitment that the Christian makes to incarnate grace and peace. The paradox of his life, a pacifist who engages in an attempt to assasinate Adolf Hitler, is presented well leaving the moral ambiguities of his decision to the viewer to contemplate. What I found most useful was the human story of Bonhoeffer, presenting this modern Lutheran martyr in a human light as a pastor and friend. This biography will serve well as an introduction to Bonhoeffer the man and will hopefully inspire the viewer to read Bonhoeffer's works.
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Format: DVD
Of all his great works, Bonhoeffer's life was the most marvelous. This film portrays well the sequence of events that led this particular disciple to pay the full price. This is not a slick Hollywood production; it is more a reenactment of a biography by actors who are creditable, not exceptional. Nevertheless there are some unforgettable scenes. The movie is quite worthwhile for one who wants to learn more about Bonhoeffer, as is the 2003 documentary, Bonhoeffer by Doblemeier. It will not offer much, however, to the viewer looking for a great deal of action and excitement.
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Format: VHS Tape
This docudrama about Dietrich Bonhoeffer's wrestling with putting his Christian faith into action while living in a Nazi context suffers because it marginalizes Bonhoeffer's faith and instead plays up the politics of the German resistance movement to which he belonged. It falls far short of the power of the movie ROMERO, although Bonhoeffer's story is no less powerful than that of Archbishop Oscar Romero, murdered by the El Salvadorian fascists during mass for his outspoken commitment to Christ incarnate in the people of El Salvador.
Bonhoeffer also made clear that Christ was incarnate in the German Church--and acting in accordance with that belief brought him to join the German resistance movement, hoping to overthrow the evils of the Nazi regime. This video, however, neglects Bonhoeffer's struggle with the ethical dilemma this posed and focuses on the details of that resistance. While it does pose some nice anectdotes about Bonhoeffer's impact on other prisoners, and how his faith and prayers helped them go calmly to their deaths, it falls short of HANGED ON A TWISTED CROSS, a documentary about Bonhoeffer.
Three stars. No more. Don't waste your time on this one until you've seen HANGED ON A TWISTED CROSS and ROMERO. Both are far more powerful movies that proclaim a Christ Incarnate in the immediate present, rather than muddying the water with obscure political machinations gone awry.
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