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13 Minutes

Directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel

Germany, 2015

HOME, 19 July 2015

13 Minutes

The story of Georg Elser, a man who, in 1939, attempted to assassinate Adolf Hitler.

He was an ethnic German, an artisan / musician from a mountain village, and so one would have thought a person who’d have been attracted to National Socialism. Yet he rejected their coercive and racist ideology outright.

It is a substantive film, engrossing and thought-provoking throughout, though there are one or two unpleasant scenes: an interrogation by the Gestapo (not exactly a genteel picnic of smoked salmon and pink champagne) and, later on, an execution for high treason which seemed to go on forever (it is a silent death, hanging, but it is by no means instantaneous or sudden, to put it mildly).

Christian Friedel gave another accomplished performance, following on from his appearance as Kleist in Amour fou; he is clearly an actor to look out for in future.

There are no Jews in this film, the emphasis being on the German resistance to Hitler’s reign. National Socialism  was a tragedy for Germany, a betrayal of her history – that’s the take-home message. And in this respect the film is of a piece with, for example, recent historical reconstructions of the von Stauffenberg plot and the revival of interest in the work of Hans Fallada.

A fine film.