• Warning: Spoilers
    "Aus einem deutschen Leben" or "Death Is My Trade" is a West German German-language film from 1977, so it will have its 40th anniversary next year. The German title is actually fairly neutral as it basically means "About a German Life". The film comes pretty close to the 150-minute mark and it stars actor Götz George, who sadly died recently, as Franz Lang. Now that name will not be known to many, but it is actually the story of Rudolf Höß, the man who operated the Auschwitz concentration camp. This is the most known cinematic work by writer and director Theodor Kotulla and he adapted Robert Merle's novel here. One important aspect that people sometimes not understand is that this is about Rudolf Höß and not Rudolf Hess, another high profile German Nazi. I will not go into detail about the latter, who he was and what he did as this will only make things more complicated. So this one is about Höß. And it does not only focus on the days when he worked in Auschwitz, but also about his early days, during World War I for example and between that first big war and the Nazi reign. But looking at the film's runtime, this should not surprise anybody. I am quite a fan of George and this is probably why I enjoyed the film more than other people might. I think it is important to make biopics about truly evil people if you can call Höß that? Your decision to make. And not just about the likes of Hitler or Stauffenberg. Höß is certainly somebody who deserves a biopic because of his role in history. A big part of the film has to do with the question how much can you blame him for following orders because if he hadn't done it (killed all these people), then somebody else would have in his place. And this does not refer to the days after the Nazi reign, but already to the days during said reign. Höß' woman plays a major role in this question of moral. She is played by Elisabeth Schwarz who really wants her husband to succeed and is always happy when he is about to get a promotion, quite the opposite to Höß, who is a calm thinker and very reliable man who does not display any emotions at all, a true professional. But when she finds out about what he does, she cannot just accept it. Or can she in the end? Anyway, I also liked the brief intertitles in-between scenes in this movie. It definitely helped with the chronology for such a long film and helped audiences to not lose a connection with when we are right now as it's also not a problem if you are not 100% concentrated during one time or scenario. George played actually quite a few criminals in his long career and I think he did a fine job here. After launching his career next to the Schneider women and appearing in some Karl May westerns afterward, this film here is a big improvement for him and, if he wasn't before already, it catapulted him into the elite of German actors, where he stayed until his recent death. I do believe that this film has some lengths, but it also has some very rewarding moments and I recommend it to everybody with an interest in German politics of the 20th century (especially the years of Nazi Germany). Go see it.