Kameradschaft (1931)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Docudrama  |   Run Time - 93 min.  |   Countries - Germany  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Craig Butler

A stunning piece of filmmaking, Kameradschaft is also as emotionally affecting as it is technically precise. Although based upon an actual incident, Kameradschaft uses it merely as a jumping off place to tell a story of two enemy forces coming together and working together in the face of a terrible mining disaster. Director G.W. Pabst and screenwriter Laszlo Vajda expertly set up the story, putting all the pieces properly into place for maximum dramatic and emotional impact. Occasionally, the two slightly lose their footing, letting a scene become ever so slightly too sentimental or perhaps painting some sequences too black and white when a little more gray would have been effective, but overall their footing is very sure. And despite the cry for peace and unity that underlies their efforts, the Pabst and Vajda resist the temptation to end on a positive note, opting instead to show that things in the real world are never as simple as we would like them to be. Pabst brings a sense of realism to the proceedings, aided enormously by Robert Baberske and Fritz Arno Wagner's cinematography, which manages to be both starkly naturalistic and emotionally subjective at the same time. Both uplifting and heartbreaking, Kameradschaft is a marvelous film.