Friday, December 23, 2011

A cinematic appreciation

I first saw this film back when it came out in 1990, back when I was living in Roanoke, VA. I was the only person in the small art house theatre where it played. I remember thinking afterwards how much I loved it and how much I immediately wanted to see it again. Alas, my finances at the time prohibited me from seeing more than one film a week. When I finally got a VCR a few years later I kept looking for this film in every video store I went in. Alas, no luck.

After years of searching for it I decided that the film hadn't been real that it must have been some kind of hallucination that my feverish mind had made up. I chalked it up to those 5 or 6 hits of acid that I did back in the 1980's.

Amazingly enough, the other night Netflix instant streaming threw one of it's crazy lists up on my TV and there in a list if German language films was my beloved The Nasty Girl. I couldn't be 100% sure it was really there because unlike every other film and TV show on Netflix streaming, there was no poster for this film. So I clicked on it. And yes! It was really the film I had seen over 20 years ago. And yes, it was just as good, even better than I remembered.

The film is about a smart young woman from a close knit Catholic family in a small German town who wins an essay contest while in school. When another essay contest comes around she decides to enter it. The theme of this essay is 'My Town during the Third Reich.' As she researches the topic she finds out that the stories she grew up, that many in her town were brave resistance fighters and that the Jews of her town were treated better than elsewhere in Germany under the Nazis, weren't true. When it's obvious she might find out the real truth, the town's people set out to stop her, but in the end, the truth prevails.

This film is wonderful. It's a blend of straight ahead story telling, magical realism, a comedy of manners, a sweet romance between the title character and her husband, and what happens when the truth meets local legend. Lena Stolze is a standout in her role, she's in nearly every scene, and by the end of the film I defy you not to be in love with her. I suspect you'll also see how this film tells uncomfortable universal truths about uncomfortable situations in every town's history.

This film is firmly in my mythical top ten of all time favorites. I highly recommend you see it.


Barbara Bruederlin said...

I'm glad you were able to reconnect with your long-lost film. It sounds like a good one!

kirby said...

Hey, I remember this movie. I'll have to screen it for Slim.

Dr. Monkey Hussein Monkerstein said...

Slim will no doubt appreciate the brief nudity in the film. ;o)