Directed by Agnieszka Holland
We have seen some really fantastic World War II movies on this List, but this might be the best of the lot. I think I watched most of the film through my fingers. I haven't felt that tense watching a movie since Wages of Fear.
The film is based on the real life of Solomon Perel, a German Jew who escaped the Holocaust by joining the Hitler Youth program. It is incredible to me that this is a true story, as the bulk of the action seems to stem from almost Dickensian coincidences and lucky breaks. Well, perhaps lucky isn't the right word...
This is such a brilliant film. I have trouble writing this review, because I am not sure I can describe what makes this movie so special. The premise is obviously fantastic and keeps you at the edge of your seat throughout the film. I mean, having to lie constantly would be hard enough (although not according to my ex boyfriends), but all the Nazis had to do was see his penis and it would all be over.
The supporting characters are just as fascinating as Perel. Leni and Rosemarie were particularly repulsive/compelling. I also found the ending to be extremely powerful. I believe he acted heroically, but he must have felt a good deal of survivor's guilt, in addition to his constant fear and paranoia. I really have to add his book to my to read list.
The best film of the nineties so far!
The movie was met with a lukewarm reception in Germany but went on to become an international hit.