Flame and Citron
A topic that comes up regularly on the Rust is how we oldies never appreciate the full potential of our computerised appliances. Some time ago I acquired a state of the art Smart television. The installer explained how I could do my emails on it but I confess it all went over my head. Recently Jamie ‘s mother explained to me how I could record programmes. On losing a credit card, I received an email from Netflix that they had problems in collecting my monthly sub. This was the first I knew that I had joined this organisation. I debated whether I should bother with it but gave them my new credit card details. I guessed at my password but still had difficulty in logging in. I confess I had had an armagnac or three by way of festive spirit.
Yesterday I finally logged and, having nothing to do that evening, thought I might watch a good film. Alas there was little of appeal as I don’t enjoy the Hollywood blockbuster and most of the classic section I had already seen. I did watch The Magnificent Seven for the umpteenth time and then looked for a continental movie. I started to watch Young and Beautiful, the Francois Ozon film of a young girl becoming a prostitute, when I realised I had already seen this. I settled on a Danish film Flame and Citron about the Danish wartime resistance.
Denmark’s role in World War Two has always interested me since a New York friend of mine made a superb documentary about the saving of the 5000 Jews called Power of Conscience. Melanie had recommend Elizabeth Buchans’s novel I can’t Begin to Tell You on the resistance, which I enjoyed. Readers probably knowthat Denmark was a protectorate – the model for Nazi occupation – though there was also a resistance. This film was about two of its operatives – Flame and Citron; one drove the car, the other shot Nazi Danes of prominence. Apparently a true story but, thus said, my incredulity bordered on the cynical. Their cell met in a cafe patronised by Nazis and they enjoyed eating and drinking next to their Gestapo high command. They seemed to have been granted by the occupiers the freedom of Copenhagen and killings were made openly on the streets with no disguise. When they were finally caught at a road block, they were put up against a wall to be executed. One, Jorge, hopped over it, was shot but still had a gun to escape from the ambulance. Even more unlikely, the other (Flame) slipped away in the confusion. So much for legendary Nazi efficiency.
Denmark had it easier than any other occupied country. It was felt that, as resistance was futile, they may as well cooperate and the occupation was relatively benign. My friend said that the governor Werner Best, realising after Stalingrad that Germany would never win, was accommodating. He was to stand trial after the war. Most of this film takes place at the latter end of the war after the invasion of France.
I emailed (not on the tv, but my iPad) our film critic Neil Rosen with my views which he endorsed. He said it did star Mads Mikkelsen, Denmark’s best known actor, who appeared as Le Chiffre in Casino Royale. He recommended Black Book, made by Paul Verhoven who also directed Robocop and Basic Instinct or, as Neil put it, “You would enjoy it Bob. It’s about a Dutch Jewish girl played by the lovely Carice van Houten infiltrating the Nazis. Like most Verhoeven’s films, high on the pube count … “