Coming of Age in Nazi Occupation

        One can learn a lot about a country by watching film. For example, Germany was known for film-noir, magical realism, and wonderful experimentation in both film and art in pre World War II Germany. Once Hitler came to power, cinema and art changed drastically. German film became a form of propaganda and focused on the outdoorsmen and the rock-climbing theme. It showed victorious Nazi Germany and only gave a one-sided view of history. Studying films from before and after the Third Reich gives a huge insight into the mindset of the people, the way in which politics controlled the country, and the kind of culture held in high regard. This is the best example of learning from film given a certain time period and historical background.

         Closely Watched Trains gives a different view of WWII occupied Czech. This film takes place in a train station where young men are held to a standard of work ethic and morals. However, we see this breakdown almost instantly. We get to see into the daily lives of these young men and see the fun side of war. Since the war is never shown, only alluded to, we do not associate this as a war film. Like many young people in occupied German territories, we also get a glimpse into the rebellion. They have plans to blow up a train carrying guns and soldier of the German army to the front. Obviously they are against the war and against Nazi Germany. However this agenda is not forced. It is not the main focus of the film. It is more of a coming of age story. We can look at this film and find that, even though the Nazis easily captured a small country like the Czech, this film shows there were people who stood up and took a stand against the War and the Nazis.

Works Cited

Lauren Bauer

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