Is it powerful or emotionless?
http://dasfilmblog.blogspot.com/2010/11/germany-year-zero.html Recently wrote this for my blog. Afterwards, I read two reviews for it from the New York Times, one of which said that the movie may be a "social document beyond reproach" but also noted that it is "unrelieved by any purge of emotions." According to him, all Rossellini set out to do was show suffering. The reviewer admired it, but he didn't really seem to like it.
I agree with this in some way, but I prefer what Dave Kehr has to say in his review of the War Film trilogy:
"As difficult as it must have been at the time the film was shot, Rossellini strains to observe the German people with fairness and compassion. His protagonist, a 12-year-old boy (Edmund Meschke, a nonprofessional Rossellini recruited from a family of circus performers), is both a symbol of the Reich (he would have been born in 1934, the year Hitler assumed his title as Führer) and a victim of it [...]Rossellini dedicated “Germany Year Zero” to his young son Romano, who had died of a ruptured appendix before the shooting began. The act of identifying his own innocent son with the adolescent killer of “Germany Year Zero” suggests extraordinary moral courage on Rossellini’s part, an ability to see a common humanity in the most disparate figures, to find sorrow where so many others had only, and understandably, found horror and disgust.
This says much more eloquently what I was trying to get at in my review. Edmund is a symbol, but neorealism isn't just about allegory. It may not be obvious, but there is a good deal of emotion in Germany: Year Zero.
What do you think? Is the film beautiful and sad or emotionless? And what do you think of my review?