I went to Sydney yesterday to see a movie that was being shown as part of the German Film festival. It is called 4 Days in May (4 Tage im Mai). The film is only 90 minutes long but it took me nine hours to go there and back again.
But, as it turned out, I could have been travelling back in time. Set on an island off the Baltic Coast of Pomerania it deals with the arrival of a group of Russian soldiers, on reconnaissance, at an orphanage.
The apprehension of the German women and children is palpable. The story really is about a thirteen year old boy, who wants to be a hero, and his relationship with the Russian captain who leads the group.
The set was perfect. All the equipment used was from that time, even the American Jeeps and trucks being used by the Red Army. They all had the automatic weapons used at the time and some soldiers even carried the map holders as I remember the Russians had at the time.
The Captain was such a good man and soldier. He was a similar person as my saviour was on my birthday, in May 1945. The boy was a nutter, but not surprisingly so. To the big plot sub-plots were added that made all the characters believable.
It was a war movie, but that was not the story. The story was how people behave in such a situation. Enemies have to behave in a certain way to each other. But here, good and bad people were not only on one side.
The Captain and the boy were the main characters and like in a love story they were drawn to each other and in the end they had to stand together against a common enemy.
At the end there was a battle around the orphanage, ironical after the war was officially over on the 8th of May, but it was not between the given enemy but between the good and bad people.
The film was very emotional for me as I knew the times and events from my own experience. Memories were awakened and a few times I was close to tears. The battle scenes were not too bad and were in silence or with piano music in the background.
I’m glad it was a German / Russian co-production and not a Hollywood film.
The only mistake I found was the full moon they showed. It should have been the last quarter. The film is worth watching because it shows real people and not celluloid heroes.