Filmed in stunning black and white, 'Der Hauptman' ('The Captain') captures the final act of the Third Reich as Hitler's dream falls completely into ruins. The downfall is the seen through the eyes of a young German soldier who, amidst the chaos, decides to desert. The farmland he traverses looks post-apocalyptic — largely abandoned save for small bands of soldiers, some of whom are also on the run. Each step, especially for a deserter, brings the possibility of certain doom.
Herold (Max Hubacher) is an enlisted man, a rank-and-file infantryman, but early on he comes across a captain's uniform while rifling through an abandoned military vehicle. Putting it on, he is transformed. Emboldened, he bluffs and swaggers through increasingly difficult situations. The uniform protects him. Some are suspicious, but the Captain manages to outfox everyone. Forming a task force from stragglers he meets along the way, Herold acquires more and more authority and dispenses harsh and arbitrary justice.
About the filmmaker:
Robert Schwentke was born 1968 in Germany. He studied Literature and Philosophy at the Eberhard Karl University in Tuebingen and later earned an MFA in directing from the American Film Institute.
Image: Robert Schwentke and Opus Films. Used with permission.
With thanks to TIFF and Piers Handling
With thanks to producer Josh Snethlage and Mixed Media Sound.
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