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Germany Year Zero Review

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★★★★★

Set in the ruins of Berlin in the aftermath of World War II, this finds Rossellini completing his War Trilogy (after Rome Open City and Paisa) by turning his attention from suffering Italians to suffering Germans.

Five families are billeted in one house, and 12-year-old Edmund is stuck with a bedridden father, a hungry older brother and a sister who hasn't got the heart for prostitution. Falling in with his ex-schoolteacher, whose fascism is linked to his fondness for caressing blond Aryan boys, Edmund despairingly becomes a sort of Nazi and euthanases his old Dad before wandering miserably through the city with a play gun looking for a real death.

Short and very downbeat, this hits the irony buttons rather too much but is still an uncomfortable, powerful film.