Archive for February 19, 2020

Bridgework

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , on February 19, 2020 by dcairns

I was confusing the little I knew about Helmut Kautner’s THE LAST BRIDGE with the little I knew about Bernhard Wicki’s THE BRIDGE, so Fiona got initially annoyed that this WASN’T a film about Nazi boy soldiers, but instead about a German nurse torn between her national and personal loyalties and the alliance she makes with Yugoslav partisans. But, after a restorative cup of coffee, she got well into it.

Maria Schell is bloody good in this. Her face displays exactly the sickened terror I would be experiencing if I were in a combat situation.

Perhaps surprisingly, Kautner, who started making films in Germany during wartime but was never popular with the regime, doesn’t seek to emphasise Nazi perfidy. What evidence we get of it is curiously indirect. The heroine’s lover announces he’s off on a “punishment mission.” When the partisans arrive at a town that’s always welcomed them, they find it destroyed and only a tiny child alive. But the audience is left to work out the possible connection and consider what this implies about the handsome leading man’s character.Bernhard WickiBernard

Fiona was most impressed by a brief flashback “narrated” by a deaf-mute partisan, the main opportunity Kautner has to engage his ludic, experimental side. First he pans to the wall of the cave where the tale is being told, where we can see the shadow of the silent narrator’s hands as he gesticulates, the lap dissolves through to the flashback, keeping both images onscreen. I really like HK’s eccentric side.