Sophie Scholl

by Chris Bertram on October 30, 2005

I went to see Sophie Scholl – Die letzten Tage (film website here ) last night, and came away with ambivalent feelings about it. On the one hand, it is good to see this extraordinary moment of heroism get a cinematic treatment, but on the other, it didn’t work especially well as a film. The film is supposedly based on Gestapo transcripts— but can it be true that Scholl and her interrogator engaged in lengthy speechifying against (and in defence of) the Nazi regime? These were the sort of exchanges that might work well in a stage play, but seemed stilted and artificial on the screen. There was also the matter of the film’s focus on Sophie as an individual rather than on her brother Hans when, from the point of view of their heroism, there seems little to choose between them. That seemed to exploit a tacit assumption that there was something specially noble about a woman resisting rather than a man. The film was good in bringing out their religious convictions, and the importance they had in motivating their acts. Certainly a film very much worth seeing for its moral and political qualities, but perhaps not for its aesthetic ones.

{ 5 comments }

1

Rebecca 10.30.05 at 8:42 am

There’s an earlier movie called Die Weisse Rose that I don’t remember very well, but you might find it more edifying!

2

bryan 10.30.05 at 8:52 am

I would suppose there is something especially noble in a woman resisting if it was considered more socially acceptable for a man to resist.

3

Hektor Bim 10.30.05 at 10:58 am

I guess, like always in these situations, Christoph, Alexander, Willi, and Kurt get the shaft. There were actually six members of the Weisse Rose, after all.

4

Matt Cheney 10.30.05 at 11:44 am

The Michael Verhoeven Die Wiesse Rose is quite good — it plays up some of the suspense/thriller aspects of the story, but Verhoeven did a lot of research and had full cooperation from the family, I believe. Inevitably, there were simplifications — fewer characters, etc., but it’s quite effective. Lena Stolze, who played Sophie, played the same role at nearly the same time in a film I haven’t seen, but which sounds a lot like Die Letzen Tage: Funf Letzte Tage (Five Last Days). An English-language version of the story is apparently in production, too: The White Rose with Christina Ricci as Sophie Scholl, and with Albert Finney, Liam Neeson, and Tim Robbins in other roles.

I know of one play about the story: The White Rose by Lillian Garrett-Groag, which the script lists as having been produced at the WPA Theatre in NY and The Old Globe theatre, both in 1991.

5

Dan Hardie 10.30.05 at 12:50 pm

Seeing as how this sounds a bit weak, and ‘The Edukators’ is frankly a dog of a movie, and ‘Good Bye Lenin’ struck me as rather slow, I recommend that everyone watch ‘Gegen Die Wand’ (released in the UK as ‘Head On’). It’s no longer showing in the arthouse cinemas but the video should be out soonish. It’s about a marriage of convenience between an alocoholic Turkish immigrant and a young Turkish girl threatened with ‘honour killing’ by her family: doesn’t sound like a barrel of laughs but there is actually some fine black humour in there. Marvellous performances, splendidly energetic film.

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