We like to look back at history and think we would do things differently. We dissect it and often wonder how things could have played out the way they did. But it’s one thing looking back through the lens of the future and actually living through a period of time. One period of time that people often debate about is the atrocities that happened during World War II and what we would do if we were there. The debate of how you would react and how you would have acted in certain situations goes out the window when you are actually faced with similar situations.
Filmed back in 2008, Final Account is a documentary being released in theaters Friday by Focus Features that may change how you answer this debate. The reality is, we wont ever know what we would have done or how we would have reacted in a situation similar to what happened in World War II. But the focus of Final Account brings to the screen the stories of people who not only lived through that period but had active participants in the war, in the Hitler Youth and even some that worked in the prison camps.
Final Account gives viewers and eye opening view of what it was like the people of Germany during the war and the years coming up to it. But it also does it without judgement and by giving you multiple perspectives. It allows the viewer to hear stories from people who lived through that period, and their honest reactions of what was happening as well as how they feel about it looking back now.
The documentary is done through subtitles, but the stories are compelling enough that even if you aren’t a fan of subtitles in a movie you will enjoy watching it. But viewers may be shocked at some of the responses and even the feelings that some of the people in the documentary. And how different the views are on what we often view and feel is one of the darkest parts of modern history.
I’m not sure why the movie is being released now 13 years after it was originally filmed, and the timing delay doesn’t seem to be explained in the film for viewers. Maybe it was to allow those interviewed peace after the film released since so many years had passed and most of that generation is no longer here. But the message and similarities of things that have happened in recent years can be drawn through these stories and the film brings with a strong warning of what could happen again.
Final Account is being released in theaters on May 21st.
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About Final Account:
FINAL ACCOUNT is an urgent portrait of the last living generation of everyday people to participate in Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich. Over a decade in the making, the film raises vital, timely questions about authority, conformity, complicity and perpetration, national identity, and responsibility, as men and women ranging from former SS members to civilians in never-before-seen interviews reckon with – in very different ways – their memories, perceptions and personal appraisals of their own roles in the greatest human crimes in history.