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The German Lesson

2hrs 5mins
Directed by
Christian Schwochow
Ulrich Noethen, Tobias Moretti, Levi Eisenblätter
Film Language
German with English subtitles

Germany, just after the Second World War. Siggi Jepsen, a young man in juvenile detention, must write an essay on “The Joys Of Duty” as part of his punishment.

The topic overwhelms Siggi so much, he suffers at first from writer’s block. Once put in solitary confinement, he finds the clarity to recount his childhood during the war in a small north German village. His memories focus on his relationship with his father, Jens Ole Jepsen, a police officer of the village, and Max Ludwig Nansen, a family friend and expressionist painter.

Jens dedicates himself totally and meticulously to the duties of his work: to enforce the will of the Nazi Party. More specifically: to enforce the ban on the possession and creation of all modern art. This directly affects Max, who resists, despite the dire consequences. Each man enlists Siggi to help their differing agendas. Caught between his father’s loyalty to the laws of the Nazi Party and Max’s passion for expressionism, Siggi must choose between fitting in and resisting.  

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