Friday, August 25, 2017

We Are Young. We Are Strong. (2014) - Foreign Film Friday

Number Rolled: 92
Movie Name/Year: We Are Young. We Are Strong. (2014)
Tagline: None
Genre: Crime, Drama, History
Length: 123 minutes
Rating: NR
Production Companies: UFA Fiction, Das Kleine Fernsehspiel (ZDF), Arte, Cine Plus
Producer: Leif Alexis, Brukhard Althoff, Frank Evers, Olaf Grunert, Michael Jungfleisch, Jochen Laube, Helge Neubronner, Sarah Neumann
Director: Burhan Qurbani
Writer: Martin Behnke, Burnhan Qurbani
Actors: Jonas Nay, Trang Le Hong, Devid Striesow, Joel Basman, Saskia Rosendahl, Paul Gabler, David Schutter, Jakob Bieber, Gro Swantje Kohlhof, Mai Duong Kieu, Aaron Le, Larissa Fuchs, Axel Pape, Thorsten Merten, Enno Trebs
Stunts: Jan Bohme, Daniel Helbig

Blurb from Netflix: In 1992, three radically different residents of Rostock, Germany, became entangled in a violent xenophobic riot that rocks the beleaguered city.

Selina’s Point of View:
Considering the state of things recently, this movie was fucking terrifying.

We Are Young. We Are Strong. concentrated on riots that were protesting foreign asylum seekers while the government mostly ignored it and that the people involved weren’t really Nazis.

I’m sorry, I can’t talk about this film without going into the social weight of it. It sounds too familiar. It was horrific to watch, nerve-wracking, sickening, and so well done that it’s almost insane.

The movie starts out in black and white, so for a while it’s very easy to look at it as if it’s describing something in the past. Like it’s just another World War II film with updated fashion and technology. At the climax, however, the film bursts into color. Suddenly, you’re in the present and you can’t ignore the parallels anymore.

It tells you this is our world and that it happens in our time.

The absolute manipulation of the audience’s emotions and perspective was outstanding. In fact, it’s something I’ve never seen before. The closest thing I can think of would be the films that are largely in black and white, but feature red to accentuate blood. Although those films do get their point across, this was much different, much better, and much more affective.

My family is Jewish. I grew up learning about the holocaust, Nazis, and the atrocities of that time. One of the first comics I read cover to cover (other than Archie) was Maus. As graphic as that comic was, I read it in middle school.

When you grow up in a Jewish family, you don’t wait until Junior High or High School to learn about hate. It’s in our past. Our grandparents and great grandparents were more than just targets, they were barely seen as human in many places during their time.

Movies that involve Nazis, and a level of hate that chooses victims from birth, make me a little ill. I watch them because I owe it to my ancestors to never forget what they went through. Films that are based in World War II are easier to watch because I can remember, but still acknowledge that it’s in the past. This film was based in the 90s and reminded me of shit happening now, in my country. The terror factor was much higher with this movie.

I don’t throw the word ‘Nazi’ around. It’s a powerful word. I don’t call every right-wing person a Nazi. I don’t used the term feminazi. I look at people who do as if they’re dumb. However, when confronted with a group of people who use the ‘sieg heil’ salute and chant racist things, of course I’m going to use that word – because that’s what they are. You can give them a different name if you want, but a rose by any other name will smell as sweet.

This film is from a different country and made years ago. The picture it paints, however, was not an unfamiliar one.

Furthermore, this film was very good at showing all the sides of what was happening. You got to see the point of view of the Nazis, the victims, and the politicians. You got to see the danger of not taking sides, of hate, and of trying to just block out the bad. I think that’s very important.

I won’t continue on. I want to, this is a very important subject to me, but I won’t.

This film won’t be for everybody, but it is a phenomenal work of art, and I do recommend it.

Cat’s Point of View:

It sounds like an ominous word to open with. It’s well earned by this exceedingly dark and heavy movie.

That being said, it wasn’t bad. It was haunting. The film was a visceral gut-punch repeated from beginning to end. One of the most chilling realizations while watching was that this is based on a true historical event in Germany. Part of me feels rather badly that I don’t remember it. I don’t recall if it hit the news here in the States or not.

Everyone that was around and old enough to remember things in 1989 remembers the Berlin Wall coming down – but for 1992, this doesn’t jog my memory.

Fear of the unknown and different is still a problem today. Xenophobia still survives even in the modern age we live in – but I don’t have to tell you that. What I can tell you is that it makes me ill to think about. Watching a whole cringe-inducing movie full of neo-Nazi propaganda, even as a cautionary tale, was hard to do.

There were moments I held my breath, and others that I scolded the screen. There were times that I fervently wished that characters made different choices – alas, my role could be no more than an unwilling bystander… unlike the mobs that gathered to denounce refugees back in the summer of 1992.

There are some eerie similarities to some of the political rhetoric I’ve heard bandied about in recent times; and that is a very chilling revelation.

Back to the movie.

I loved the black-and-white as a cinematic choice. It likely was meant to be metaphorical – and it worked brilliantly.

This is one of those movies that stirs something inside you and leaves you changed once you’ve watched it – and then you never want to see it again. That’s where I am right now. The roll of credits found me in solemn and silent awe. I didn’t like the feeling I was left with.

The film was very effective getting its message across.

I doubt that school boards would allow it, but this movie quite possibly would be a good teaching tool to highlight mob mentality as well as a number of other societal issues; not to mention the inherent history lesson.

The film was powerful and I hated it – in the best way.

Speech Available: German, Spanish, Italian, Brazilian Portuguese, French
Subtitles Available: English, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, German, Spanish

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – None
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 83%
Metascore - None
Metacritic User Score – None
IMDB Score – 7.2/10

Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating5/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating4/5

Trust-the-Dice’s Parental Advisory Rating: R

Movie Trailer:

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