Bonnie Siegler | Three Reasons

Three Reasons: The Bridge

The Bridge takes place in the final, desperate days of the German army during World War II when teenagers were drafted into a completely crushed and demoralized last defense of their hometown. Based on the autobiographical novel of one those teenagers, Gregor Dorfmeister (writing under the pseudonym Manfred Gregor), this intimate portrait of German soldiers and citizens offers a unique perspective on life in a small town suddenly in the crosshairs of the Allies' victory dash to Berlin. Made in 1959, this film comes close to making us empathize with the struggles and choices the Germans had to make. It is an attempt to portray the Germans themselves as victims of the Nazi lies, with a Shakespearean, tragic reckoning of pointless deaths. 

This Three Reasons follows the beautifully constructed three acts of the film. First, we get to know the boys and their parents, watch them play, get into trouble, toy with romance, and posture as young adults. They are, however, just teenagers. In the second act, they become soldiers. Happily at first, until they realize that being a soldier is nothing like they imagined. Director Bernhard Wicki shows us the boys bristling at being considered children, while really desperately wanting to be home, safe in their beds. The final act of the film is emotionally brutal. Dorfmeister became a lifelong pacifist after living through this hell. I really wish The Bridge had been required viewing when I was in high school. It is a powerful anti-recruitment film.

Watch the Three Reasons here.

Posted in: Media

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