A Defeated People
A fascinating document from the rubble years, this film from the British-occupied zone is most interesting for the shift in attitude it reflects towards the German people. Where much postwar Allied propaganda had emphasized the lingering evil of an unreconstructed enemy, this documentary offers a more sympathetic view. Opening sequences depict devastated urban wastelands and the miseries of displaced persons. Reconstructing this shattered land shows many faces: scenes of the British Ruhr administration, headquartered inside the former Krupp mansion, are juxtaposed with remarkable footage of infrastructure restoration. Also addressed are the vexing problems of rebuilding Germany's government and educational system. Yet for all its sympathetic understanding, the film inadvertently reveals a darker side to British occupation: after disclosing that Germans are subsisting on near-starvation rations--1,000-1,200 calories per day--viewers are assured that British doctors are on hand to ensure that this will be adequate for Germans to work!
Directed by Humphrey Jennings, Great Britain, 1946, B&W, 18 minutes, English commentary.
NTSC Region 0 encoding (Entire World)
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