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Das Boot and Sky Arts “Discovering”

I watched the next two episodes of Das Boot on catch up. Both engrossed me sufficiently to intend to watch the rest of the series.

One of the attractions of modern television is the importing of the European production. These begun with The Killing and followed with other Scanda Noir like The Bridge. I have neither the time nor inclination to watch them all but I liked the French Spiral. The difficulty for a director is the length. A series might extend over 12 hours, 6 times the length of a film, so the plot has to be handled carefully.

The second story of Das Boot features the Resistance in La Rochelle and has embraced more modern cinematic trends namely the prominence of female roles. The second ends with Fraulein Strasser (Vicky Krieps) beginning an affaire with the female smart ass American resistance leader. This is all seems contrived and perhaps designed with the American audience in mind.

Strausser, who works for the German Navy as a translator, is being pursued romantically by the Gestapo chief so I can see where this plot line is going. As in the original film the compacted, claustrophobic life in a metal tube below the sea is well conveyed with tensions amongst the crew spilling into violence.

Once the crew of one U-boat disembarks in La Rochelle they visit a brothel in which a French barmaid, who is Jewish and has Fraulein Strausser’s brother’s child, is raped so violently she dies. The father, her boyfriend and the brother is the wireless operator on the U-boat featured in the story. It raises issues of whether the perpetrator would be arrested. There is also a bomb which exploded during a parade when a U-boat returns. It seems unlikely that there were no reprisals. All in all, good production values and acting and well worth watching.

The Discovering series on Sky Arts of both directors and film stars also appears on my planner as I recorded the whole series.

I very much enjoyed the tribute to Stanley Kubrick.

The great thing about Kubrick is that he was never constrained by sticking to one genre.

He made political satirical comedies like Dr Strangelove (1962), maximising Peter Sellers’ talents with 3 roles, an examination of ritual violence in Clockwork Orange, a period costume drama in Barry Lyndon and a war film about Vietnam Full Metal Jacket.

Add To this Spartacus The Shining and Lolita and you have one of the geniuses of modern cinema.

He started life as a photographer and there was no better director at visualising a scene.

Something of control freak, he had an uneasy relationship with the studio as he took full control of every film he directed. He has left a considerable legacy.

About Neil Rosen

Neil went to the City of London School and Manchester University graduating with a 1st in economics. After a brief stint in accountancy, Neil emigrated to a kibbutz In Israel. His articles on the burgeoning Israeli film industry earned comparisons to Truffaut and Godard in Cahiers du Cinema. Now one of the world's leading film critics and moderators at film Festivals Neil has written definitively in his book Kosher Nostra on Jewish post war actors. Neil lives with his family in North London. More Posts