Synopsis by Hal Erickson
This West German film was first released in 1985 under the title Bittere Ernte. Armin-Mueller Stahl plays a Polish farmer living under the wartime Nazi occupation. Stahl isn't too offended at the prospect of answering to the Germans; in fact, he has profited by confiscating the property of his neighbor, a wealthy Jew. His conscience doesn't disturb him until a starving Jewish woman (Elisabeth Trissenaar) stumbles onto his property. At first Stahl shelters her, but his baser instincts surface; she is in no position to refuse when he ultimately rapes her. She even comes to fall in love with Stahl--and kills herself when another woman moves in with him. Stahl survives the war with health and wealth intact, only mildly disturbed by the misery he has caused. This Oscar-nominated film was to have been lensed in director Agnieszka Holland's native Poland; upon the imposition of martial law, production was switched to Sweden.
farmer, relationship, occupation [military], Nazi, Polish [nationality], rape, suicide