Director: Milan Ciesler
Cast: Monika Hilmerova, Michel Sieczkowski, Johana Tesarova, Vilma Cibulkova, Karel Dobry, Bronislav Poloczek, Josef Somr, Bozidara Turzonovova, Alois Svehlik, Lubomir Kostelka, Zdenka Sajfertovea.
Running time: 107 minutes
Out Now UK on DVD from Redemption . Visit http://www.salvation-films.com
Extras: Children, Lebensborn and the Nazi Racial Ideal – Documentary with Michael Leapman. Original Third Reich racial material archive. Stills gallery. Original theatrical trailer. Redemption trailers.
Summary: Based upon a little known Nazi project to breed the most racially pure Aryans this story follows Gretka, a young Czech peasant girl who is deemed to be ideal breeding stock. She is transferred to a luxurious spa hospital where she undergoes training to prepare her for her future role as mother to the German ideal of the master race.
Review: This is not what I expected of a Redemption film. The dark subject matter is dealt with very seriously, no random titillation involved, you are drawn into the heroine’s plight and confusion as she attempts to understand the gravity of the situation she finds herself in. The high production values are clear to see and some of the locations are beautiful and opulent, to a point where I was taking more notice of the architecture than the actors.
Although the film is well made and the location and architecture are impressive enough for a blockbuster movie the story tends to drag and at times feels as if watching a daytime drama . Despite the fact that the story depicts these hospitals as little more than upmarket brothels to serve the high ranking officers this at no time feels like an exploitation movie. If you want gurning villains indulging in sadistic torture porn stick with SS Experiment Camp and the like.
There is a side story involving Gretka’s relationship with the Jewish gardener and an impotent SS officer but these seem more of an afterthought to the dark reality of the Lebensborn project. This is no rollicking rollercoaster but rather a slow burning drama, well made, acted and beautifully shot. Don’t come into this expecting cheap exploitative shock but rather be shocked by the dark secrets of our world’s history.
The extras include a very interesting documentary narrated by historian and writer Michael Leapman explaining the Lebensborn project and the German view of the perfect Aryan. It was well worth watching this before the actual movie as I must admit that I had no previous knowledge of this part of history. Also included is a gallery of original Third Reich racial material which showed how much they idealised the traditional German farming folk.
A well crafted and beautiful looking, award winning film about an interesting subject, but there is very little excitement involved and it all seems a little too safe for work.
Movie: 5 stars out of 10
Extras: 6 stars out of ten