In Those Days
Director Helmut Kautner
|Writer Helmut Kautner, Ernst Schnabel|
Release date 13 June 1947
In Those Days (German:In jenen Tagen) is a 1947 German drama film directed by Helmut Kautner and starring Gert Schafer, Erich Schellow and Winnie Markus. It was one of the cycle of Rubble films made in the wake of Germanys defeat during World War II. The film addresses issues of collective guilt during the Nazi era, using the device of a car built in 1933 and dismantled in 1947 narrating the various experiences of its owners in a series of seven separate episodes. The films objective was to highlight the private resistance of various figures to the Nazis even while they publicly accepted the repression of Nazi society.
Told in seven chapters, Käutner’s first postwar film portrays the lives of average people overwhelmed and traumatized by the impact of fascism. Käutner uses the framing device of an automobile whose various owners serve as the film’s protagonists and initiate its episodic structure. The characters represent an interesting cross-section of the German people including a deserting soldier, a Jewish couple and a composer who has been labeled as subversive. During a time when most Germans wanted to forget the past, Käutner eschewed the controlled setting of the UFA studios and chose to film in the bombed out streets of Berlin, crafting a humanistic rendering of recent history.
The film was produced in Hamburg in the British Zone as part of a growing post-war trend in western Germany of moving film production away from its traditional centre of Berlin. The film was made under extremely difficult conditions including a lack of raw film stock and hunger amongst the cast and technicians. The director, Helmut Kautner, had several of his earlier films banned by the Nazis which led to him being perceived as possessing greater moral authority than many of his colleagues. Consequently, the film was seen as a standard-bearer for the values of the post-war German film industry.
It was well received by the German public in 1947 who were generally receptive to its message. In the 1960s the film began to attract criticism for allegedly whitewashing ordinary Germans acceptance of Nazi ideology. However, this criticism has in turn been challenged as being ahistorical and ignoring the conditions under which it was made - such as the constraints put on German film-makers by the Allied occupation powers and the resistance of contemporary German audiences to films that explicitly examined their possible collective guilt.
ReferencesIn Those Days Wikipedia
In Those Days IMDb In Those Days themoviedb.org