In Those Days | Chicago Reader

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A fine example of the “rubble films” released in Germany after World War II, this heartfelt 1947 drama follows the life of an automobile from its construction in 1933, when the Reichstag was torched, to its final days in a junkyard in 1945. During that time the convertible passes through the hands of seven owners, ordinary folk who face the harsh realities of fascism and war: in one vignette, a girl comes to realize that her mother's lover, a composer, places himself in grave danger with his “degenerate” music, and in another, a shopkeeper refuses to save himself by leaving his Jewish wife. Director Helmut Käutner (who cowrote the script) focuses on sympathetic characters but spares us the sermons and sentimentality, instead letting his camera linger on the fear and devastation of a nation gripped by madness and then stripped bare by war. In German with subtitles. 111 min.

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