Film world focuses on wartime, post-war Germany

Fri Feb 6, 2009 3:45pm EST
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By Mike Collett-White and Michael Davidson

BERLIN (Reuters) - War movies are nothing new, but a spate of films based on Germany in World War Two, the Holocaust and more recent history is hitting cinemas at the same time, and directors predict more to come.

On Friday the Berlin film festival is showcasing Stephen Daldry's "The Reader," in which Kate Winslet plays a former concentration camp guard, and Tom Cruise appeared in the recent "Valkyrie" as Colonel Claus Von Stauffenberg, an officer who tried to assassinate Adolf Hitler in 1944.

Daniel Craig starred in "Defiance," about partisans fighting the Nazis and protecting hundreds of Jews, and Jeff Goldblum won critical acclaim in "Adam Resurrected" for his portrayal of a man who acted as a Nazi commandant's dog in order to survive.

They follow the success of recent German war productions like "Downfall" and "The Counterfeiters," and the Oscar-winning "The Lives of Others" about an East German secret police agent.

"The Baader Meinhof Complex," about a group of left-wing militants suspected of killing dozens of prominent West Germany figures, was released in September.

"I am still amazed about how few films are made about the post-war German experience and I am pleased that it is just beginning," said Daldry, British director of The Reader.

"This film is very much based in about the years from 1958 to 1995," he told Reuters in an interview in Berlin.

"I am delighted and very excited about 'The Baader Meinhoff Complex' coming to the cinemas, but I suspect there will be more films about that era of Germany.   Continued...

<p>An undated handout photo shows actors Kate Winslet (L) and David Kross in a scene from the film 'The Reader ' directed by Stephen Daldry, which is showing in competition at the 59th Berlinale film festival. REUTERS/ The Weinstein Company/Melinda Sue Gordon, SMPSP/Handout</p>