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Film / Germany, Year Zero

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Germany, Year Zero (Germania anno zero) is a 1948 Italian neorealist drama directed by Roberto Rossellini. The final film in Rossellini's war film trilogy (following Rome, Open City and Paisan), Germany, Year Zero takes place in post-war Germany, and follows the story of twelve-year-old Edmund Kohler.

Edmund lives with his ailing father and his brother and sister in a bombed apartment building with five other families. His sister is accused of prostituting herself to the Allied officers occupying Berlin. His brother Karl-Heinz wants to register with the government so he can work, but cannot because he fears repercussions from his activities as part of a Nazi regiment. In an effort to help his family, Edmund partakes in the black market that rules Berlin, and falls in with a group of more worldly teenagers who introduce him to such activities as scamming, stealing, and casual sex.

Ultimately he looks to his former teacher for guidance, little realizing that this will only lead to further disaster...

This movie contains examples of:

  • Black Market: In an attempt to get some money for his family, Edmund seeks out possible trades in the black market. He sells a record of Hitler given to him by his former teacher Henning to some allied soldiers.
  • Darker and Edgier: Even compared to Rossellini's two previous movies whose perspective was not exactly pink. Here we do not find any hope at all.
  • Dirty Coward: Karl-Heinz is accused of being this, as he refuses to register with the government for food rations that the family needs due to fear of repercussions of his former Nazi alignment. He doesn't deny this, but by the end of the film he gains the confidence to go with the police and get registered.
  • Driven to Suicide: Suicide is mentioned throughout the film. Edmund kills himself after he poisons his father.
  • Italian Neorealism
  • Self-Made Orphan: Edmund poisons his sick father, who is lamenting his uselessness to his family and had previously said he wished he was no longer a burden on his children.