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ROSENSTRASSE

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Margarethe von Trotta's World War II drama based on true events in 1943 Berlin about Aryan women who fought for the release of their imprisoned Jewish husbands veers close at times to melodrama (one is reminded of classic "women's pictures") -- and though a hankie is recommended, strong performances keep the film anchored. A contemporary American woman (Maria Schrader) comes to Berlin to seek the truth of her mother's past; through flashbacks we learn the extraordinary story of 8-year-old Ruth (Svea Lohde), left homeless by the deportation of her family, who is taken in by Lena (Katja Reimann), an Aryan married to a Jewish musician. By focusing on the events of just one street -- Rosenstrasse -- and a handful of participants, Von Trotta traces the horrors of Nazism from within Germany, but her small window also captures the resilience and ardor of ordinary Germans who refused to be silent, and from the heartbreak she sketches an affirming story. In German with subtitles.

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