First, of course, is the message of the movie. Actually, I should say the history that the movie contains. This is the true story of Sophie Scholl, a young German woman who was a student during the 1940s. She, along with her friends and her brother, dared to participate in a resistance movement virtually under the noses of the Nazis.
For many years, I have read about this movie that was made in 1982. The German-language film has been referenced in countless other reviews for its compelling performances and authentic feel. Problem is, the film is not available on DVD. In fact, I searched for it and found it available on only a handful of used VHS tapes priced from $25 to $130. It is no exaggeration to say that this is a rare film indeed. I thought that most likely I would never get a chance to see it.
Now, thanks to the German American Heritage Center in downtown Davenport and the Jewish Federation of the Quad-Cities, this movie will be shown at 4 p.m. Sunday at the Figge Art Museum, 225 W. 2nd St., Davenport. Admission is $5, free for students. The film is a treasure in more ways than one, both as a rare piece of cinema and as an important component of the current “White Rose” exhibition at the heritage center, 712 W. 2nd St.
The title refers to a group of students at the University of Munich who, during a few months in 1942 and 1943, wrote, printed and distributed anti-Nazi fliers in a secret resistance movement. Among the leaders of the activists were siblings Hans and Sophie Scholl, played in the movie by Wulf Kessler and Lena Stolze, respectively.
Although Sophie is surprised at first that her brother is involved in such an initiative, she begins to understand the horrors that are taking place under the Nazi regime and then joins the group. Soon, the Gestapo pledges to hunt down whoever is behind this resistance strategy, but the courageous students continue their mission despite the looming threat.
Great attention is given to the environment, the clothing and the way the story unfolds. For example, Paul Geisler, the premier of Bavaria, did speak out against women seeking higher education. His speech is delivered word-for-word here as he gave it in real life.
Not only is this an entertaining, albeit disturbing, movie, but it is also an educational film because it so splendidly depicts the resistance movement in Nazi Germany. It is a true tale of courage, and it deserves to be seen.
“The White Rose”
3 1/2 stars
Director: Michael Verhoeven
Screenwriters: Mario Krebs and Michael Verhoeven
Stars: Lena Stolze, Wulf Kessler, Ulrich Tukur, Werner Stocker, Martin Benrath, Anja Kruse, Oliver Siebert and Reinhold Olszewski
Rated: Unrated, but similar to an “R” for nudity, and sexual and other adult situations
In German with English subtitles
IF YOU GO
What: "The White Rose"
When: 4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 22
Where: Figge Art Museum, 225 W. 2nd St., Davenport
How much: $5 for adults, students free