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Stalingrad
     

Stalingrad

Director: Sebastian Dehnhardt, Christian Deick, Jörg Müllner

Cast: Sebastian Dehnhardt, Christian Deick, Jörg Müllner

 

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One of the most horrific battles in history and perhaps the most crucial turning point of WWII, the battle for Stalingrad is examined in Sebastian Dehnhardt's exhaustive three-part, made-for-TV documentary originally simulcast on public television in Germany and Russia. Dehnhardt tells the story through stock footage, 8 mm footage shot by survivors of the

Overview

One of the most horrific battles in history and perhaps the most crucial turning point of WWII, the battle for Stalingrad is examined in Sebastian Dehnhardt's exhaustive three-part, made-for-TV documentary originally simulcast on public television in Germany and Russia. Dehnhardt tells the story through stock footage, 8 mm footage shot by survivors of the battle, and contemporary videotaped interviews with several survivors, both German and Russian. The first section, "The Attack," gives the context for Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union and the confident German advance across the country to the Stalingrad and the Volga River. There, the Germans found bitter cold. They bombed the city mercilessly, but the Red Army imbedded itself and cunningly used snipers to keep the Germans off balance. The second section is "The Kessel." "Kessel" is the German word for "cauldron," which is how the German soldiers referred to the area in which they ended up trapped when the Russians cut off their supply lines and surrounded them after they had marched into the city. The Germans had overextended their military in Hitler's haste to conquer all of the Soviet Union. Here, they fought the Russians for several grueling months through sub-zero temperatures, dealing with disease and hunger. His commanders forbidden to surrender, Hitler was determined to conquer the city that bore his enemy's name. The third section, "The Doom," deals with the Germans' growing desperation to get out, as they resort to cannibalism to survive. They eventually surrendered and the last part of the film details the grueling march to prisoner-of-war camps. Nearly one million died during the campaign. Stalingrad was shown at the 2003 New York Film Festival.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Josh Ralske
Stalingrad, originally produced for German television, is a compelling and informative documentary about the disastrous German campaign against the Russians during WWII, but there's a moral vacuum at the film's center. The filmmakers fill the screen with incredible original footage taken during the attack. There are also plentiful interviews with German soldiers who survived and family members of those who never returned. Unfortunately, there are only a few interviews with Russian survivors of the German onslaught, military and civilian. The film serves as a valuable historical document of the horrors of war and its human cost and offers insight into military strategy. But the film curiously fails to place the invasion of Russia into a larger historical context. There's an overwhelming focus on the German point-of-view and very little indication as to what extent these soldiers understood the cause for which they were fighting. The filmmakers essentially gloss over the atrocities being committed by the Nazis during Hitler's campaign of expansion. Certainly the loss of life at Stalingrad -- on both sides -- was appalling, but it's hard to see the event itself as a great tragedy, as the film seems to think we should, when it was also a decisive turning point in the war and a pivotal Allied victory against Hitler.

Product Details

Release Date:
06/27/2006
UPC:
0654930305393
Original Release:
2003
Rating:
NR
Source:
Synapse Films
Time:
2:45:00
Sales rank:
36,346

Special Features

Anamorphic widescreen (1.78:1) presentation; English language dubbed version features footage not seen in original foreign broadcast; "Recollections" - deleted interview segments; Video interview with Dr. Guido Knopp (Professor and Historian); Stalingrad Today - Views of the city of Volgograd

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