13 July 1999 | jim-314
Exceptionally moving exploration of forms of innocence and betrayal.
I was lucky to catch this movie (English title: "The Turning Point") at a university mini-festival of East German films. As far as I know it was never commercially released in the U.S. Based on a fictionalized memoir, it concerns a teenage German soldier captured in Poland at the end of W.W.II and falsely accused of war crimes. It's an extra-ordinary and complex exploration of the concepts of guilt, innocence, betrayal, justice, and self-deception. It's not a movie about good guys and bad guys, winners and losers. Rather, it concerns issues of both personal and institutional responsibility during war and its aftermath, and it's immensely moving. Not flashy cinema on the surface, but so beautifully written and acted that it stands out as one of the most haunting war films I've seen in the last several years (far more so than the recent jingoistic Hollywood blockbusters). It poses difficult, complex questions about human behavior during war, and offers no simple answers.