After earning numerous awards in Europe and an Academy Award nomination for best foreign language film, Marc Rothemund’s “Sophie Scholl: The Final Days” is finally making its way to American audiences, Yale included.
Approximately 100 students and members of the Yale community attended a special advance screening of Rothemund’s film at the Law School Saturday. Rothemund himself was scheduled to lead a discussion after the show, but was unable to attend due to inclement weather. Several students expressed disappointment that Rothemund would not be present and said they had looked forward to hearing about the research that went into the detailed, minute-by-minute account of the last few days of anti-Nazi activist Sophie Scholl’s life.
Starring Julia Jentsch as the titular heroine, the German film takes a new angle on the well-documented “White Rose movement”, a nonviolent German resistance organization that enlisted college-age student activists to distribute leaflets in opposition to the Nazi regime. Instead of portraying the entire movement, the film depicts in detail Scholl’s arrest, interrogation, trial and sentence, covering only six days of the young female activist’s life.
Even without the benefit of a discussion with the director, students said they were moved by the film. Some said they were struck by the fortitude and strength of Scholl and the other college students involved in the White Rose action.
“As opposed to other Hollywood films, the story spoke for itself,” Brandon Cook ’07 said. “It wasn’t about the acting so much as it was about the incredible story.”
Students said they felt the film allowed the perseverance of the activists to shine through. Even though some, including Cook, said the acting and cinematography were not the focus of the film, several students said they were impressed by Jentsch’s performance and Rothemund’s direction.
Evelyn Tang ’07 said she thought the film was well-made and thought-provoking, especially because it showed such a detailed account of a short time span.
Still, Tang said that by focusing so narrowly on the end of Scholl’s life, she thought the film left audience members with a lot of questions about White Rose and its other members that perhaps would have been answered by a broader story.
“I would have liked to know more about the characters,” Tang said. “It would be interesting to see what kind of people could have come up with such strong resistance and what was their motivation.”
“Sophie Scholl” received three Lolas, Germany’s equivalent to Academy Awards, including the Best Actress Award for Julia Jentsch’s performance. It also won two Silver Bears for Best Director and Best Actress at the Berlin International Film Festival. The film is scheduled for release in select American theaters in February.