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Encyclopedia > Germany Year Zero
Germania, anno zero
Directed by Roberto Rossellini
Produced by Salvo D'Angelo,
Roberto Rossellini
Written by Roberto Rossellini,
Max Kolpé,
Sergio Amidei
Starring Edmund Moeschke,
Ernst Pittschau,
Ingetraud Hinze,
Franz-Otto Krüger,
Erich Gühne
Music by Renzo Rossellini
Cinematography Robert Juillard
Editing by Eraldo Da Roma
Distributed by G.D.B. Film
Release date(s) December 1, 1948
Running time 78 min.
Country Italy
Language German,
IMDb profile

Germania, anno zero (Germany Year Zero) is the final film in Roberto Rossellini's famed war movie trilogy (the first two being Rome, Open City and Paisan). Unlike the first two movies, Germany Year Zerotakes place in post-war Germany instead of a post-war Italy. However, it continues to present a vision of Christian Humanism that makes up the ideological core of his two earlier films. Rossellini wished to express how the vile and unnatural elements of nazism had corrupted German society. As in many neorealist films, Rossellini uses mainly local, non-professional actors. It also used on location sites in Berlin, as well as constructed sets in Rome. It is meant to convey the reality of the first year after the end of the Nazi regime in Germany, which for Rossellini always includes its internal, spiritual side (not only materiality). When explaining his ideas about realism in an interview, he said, "realism is nothing other than the artistic form of the truth" (Rossellini 35). Image File history File links Acap. ... Roberto Rossellini (May 8, 1906 - June 3, 1977), was an Italian film director. ... Roberto Rossellini (May 8, 1906 - June 3, 1977), was an Italian film director. ... Roberto Rossellini (May 8, 1906 - June 3, 1977), was an Italian film director. ... Sergio Amidei (1904 - 1981) was one of the premiere screenwriters in post-WWII Italy and was an important figure in the development of the Italian neorealist movement. ... is the 335th day of the year (336th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1948 (MCMXLVIII) was a leap year starting on Thursday (link will display the 1948 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... Roberto Rossellini (May 8, 1906 - June 3, 1977), was an Italian film director. ... Rome, Open City (Italian: Roma, Città Aperta) is a 1945 Italian film, directed by Roberto Rossellini. ... Paisà is a 1946 Italian film directed by Roberto Rossellini. ... Nazism in history Nazi ideology Nazism and race Outside Germany Related subjects Lists Politics Portal         Nazism or National Socialism (German: Nationalsozialismus), refers primarily to the ideology and practices of the Nazi Party (National Socialist German Workers Party, German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei or NSDAP) under Adolf Hitler. ...



The story follows a twelve year old boy, Edmund Koeler. Edmund lives with his ailing father and his brother and sister in a bombed out apartment building with five other families. His sister, Eva, is unjustly accused of prostituting herself to the Allied officers that now reign in Berlin. His brother, Karl-Heinz, has not stepped forward to register with the new police force because he is afraid of punishment for being a part of a Nazi regiment that fought the Allies to the bitter end. This article is about the capital of Germany. ... National Socialism redirects here. ...

While his family is preoccupied with these things, Edmund is mainly left to his own devices in order to survive and also in order to help his family survive as well, for without Karl-Heniz's registration with the authorities he cannot work. Edmund partakes in the black market that rules Berlin at this time and is cheated by an adult as well as a group of older children who are much more savvy to street life than Edmund who (at least for a time) manages to salvage some sense of childhood innocence. He is eventually corrupted by various forces resulting from the fallout of Nazi rule. It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into underground economy. ...

The group of teens are one such example. They introduce him to scamming people and stealing and also introduce him to the adult vice of casual sex. Similarly, Mr. Enning (a former school teacher of Edmund's) also corrupts Edmund and represents the Nazi party more explicitly, for he still holds Nazi values and profits off selling Nazi artifacts on the blackmarket. He praises Edmund for joining the Hitler Youth when his father tried to get him exempt. In addition, he is harboring a Nazi general. Mr. Enning is also painted as being a homosexual and a pedophile, which Rossellini tried to express through showing his less than honorable intentions towards young Edmund, This is another outlet to express the evil element of Nazism. To an audience at the time, homosexuality would have been viewed as deviant; especially in the mostly Catholic western Europe. In fact, the Catholic Church was a present force in the first two films of the trilogy, but in Germany, Year Zero, Rossellini makes no reference to the Church as a chance for redemption. Nazism in history Nazi ideology Nazism and race Outside Germany Related subjects Lists Politics Portal         For the SS division with the nickname Hitlerjugend see; 12th SS Panzer Division Hitlerjugend The Hitler Youth (German:   , abbreviated HJ) was a paramilitary organization of the Nazi Party. ... Pedophilia, paedophilia, or pædophilia (see spelling differences), is the paraphilia of being sexually attracted primarily or exclusively to pre-pubescent children. ... The name Catholic Church can mean a visible organization that refers to itself as Catholic, or the invisible Christian Church, viz. ...

This series of corruptive elements that come in contact with Edmund leads ultimately to the culmination of the embodiment of evil Nazism. After visiting Mr. Enning while looking for help, Edmund is told by his former teacher that his father should die because the weak die and the strong survive and that is the way life is. Edmund interprets these words in an extreme manner (as the Nazi government had to a much greater extent) and proceeds to poison his father in order to relieve his suffering and lift the burden placed on his family to take care of the sick aging man. Afterwards, Edmund is unable to bear the guilt of having done such a thing and throws himself out of a burned building across the street from where his family lives, falling to his death.


Though criticized for such a controversial ending by some, Rossellini has defended it with the argument that it's not about punishment for the crimes of the German government (and the German people) but it should be viewed as a hopeful ending. That in the death of Edmund, so too die the tainted morals imposed on him by the Nazi society in which he was raised. This can be contrasted with Rome, Open City in which Marcello (the young hero) and his young playmates march down the hill toward Rome. They will be the new generation that will begin to forget and heal Europe. The opposite sentiment is found here; a child's death is what serves as a symbolic end to the era of fascism.

Social Significance

Like the other two films in the trilogy Germany, Year Zero is a tale of morality and serves as a modern folk-tale for post-war Europe. It is not aesthetically pleasing in any certain way, and most of the dialogue is simple and often melodramatic. The significance of this film is not in the visual itself, but the ability of this (relatively) new art form to be used as a modern construction of a very old one. People needed these morality tales, these legends to start again in war-torn Europe. They needed to believe it was possible to put to death the evil immorality fostered by the ideals of Nazi Germany and begin to heal the wounds resulting from this. They needed villains and heroes in order to create a myth that they could believe in in order to carry on and move forward to rebuild Europe and return to the values in once held. Nazi Germany, or the Third Reich, commonly refers to Germany in the years 1933–1945, when it was under the firm control of the totalitarian and fascist ideology of the Nazi Party, with the Führer Adolf Hitler as dictator. ...

Further reading

  • Serceau, Michel. Roberto Rossellini. Paris: Les Editions du Cerf, 1986.
  • Guarner, Jose L. Trans. Elizabeth Cameron. New York: Praeger, 1970.
  • Brunette, Peter. Roberto Rossellini. New York: Oxford University P, 1987.
  • Rossellini, Roberto. My Method: Writings and Interviews. Adriano Aprà, ed. Trans: Annapaola Cancogni. New York : Marsilio Publishers, 1992.

External links

The history of Italian cinema began just a few months after the Lumière brothers had discovered the medium, when Pope Leo XIII was filmed for a few seconds in the act of blessing the camera. ... This is a complete list of male actors from Italy, which generally means those who reside in Italy or those who have appeared largely in Italy film productions. ... This is an incomplete list of actresses from Italy. ... A list of the most notable films produced in the Cinema of Italy ordered by year and decade of release For an alphabetical list of articles on Italian films see Category:Italian films. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... List of Italian films of the 1940s. ...



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