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Germany, Year Zero

Germany, Year Zero (Germania anno zero) is a 1948 film directed by Roberto Rossellini. I'd seen it before, in the 90s, and recently I remembered its impact on me but couldn't recall the whole story, so I watched it again and was struck by how much of a classic it is. This is the last film in Rossellini's war trilogy, after Rome, Open City (1945) and Paisà (1946), which I hope to get to later this week. All three belong to Italy's neorealism movement of films portraying and interpreting injustice, poverty and desperation. Germany, Year Zero is beautifully heartbreaking with an ending that's agonizing. Rossellini was a brilliant storyteller—towards the end of Germany, Year Zero he shows us the boy (protagonist), robbed of his childhood by the war, walking rubble-strewn streets, off and on pathetically trying to play (soccer, hopscotch, etc.) while ruminating on what he's done, not just to his father but seemingly (considering the prior dialogue with his brother, Karl-Heinz) in his young life. Then the tragic finale. All shot on location in a dismal post-war Berlin. One of my all-time favorite films.


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