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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Holocaust > Nazis > Genocide > German > Rotation (1949/DEFA/First Run)

Rotation (1949/DEFA/First Run)


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: C+     Film: B-



Wolfgang Staudte’s Rotation (1949) is an ambitious attempt to examine why the Nazis were able to get Germans to go along with their plans, no matter how horrid.  His Murders Are Among Us (reviewed elsewhere on this site) is a classic and strong film.  Just daring to address the problem of conformity in that nightmare was bold enough, but the West German studio DEFA was thrilled until he used footage from Leni Riefenstahl’s Olympia and ended on a highly peaceful note.  The Soviets banned it as a result, only surfacing when the U.S.S.R. collapsed.


The story tells of a father who refuses to be complicit to the Nazis, while his son joins them in the Youth Leagues.  His Jewish neighbors suddenly start disappearing as well, meaning the unthinkable is obviously happening.  There are those who will accept it, those who will deny it and those who will go along with the Nazis either way.  It traces the story to the end of the war, with shaky consequences.


The film may not be as bold as later examinations of the same material (Porcile, Garden Of The Finzi-Continis), but for its time, was a great starting point and another triumph for the filmmakers and its director.  Nice to see it out on DVD.


The 1.33 X 1 black and white image is good for its age and has some detail limits, but the Video Black is thick enough to offset some of that and makes it more watchable.  Bruno Mondi’s camerawork is very good here.  The German Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono is a bit brittle at times, but good for its age.  Extras include stills, text on the filmmakers, newsreels, solid Christiane Muckenburger analysis on the film and 1945 – 65: The Cold War – The Film In Historical Context essay worth your time.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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