Napola - Elite für den Führer (2004)
Here is Swedish film Ondskan's more historically potent and less showy twin, and another example of the decency and balance that has encompassed German filmmaking in recent years - particularly when it comes to depiction of WWII matters, something that German cinema has not been ready for until recently. In Napola, the young director Dennis Gansel gives us a riveting look into how kids (notably the most talented ones) were trained into embracing the nazi ideology. It is a film more about values than war, and it is a strong study of the fine line that separates right from wrong, a valueable film for its ethics. The film is equally accomplished on the visual side, with its crisp and captivating photography capturing the time in question better than most films set during the era. The casting is a key here, both in giving the film the right historical feel and also in the number of erotic suggestions between the boys. Particularly great performances come from Schilling, Striesow and Drechsel, as well as Riemelt in the lead. Like Sophie Scholl, this film has the ability to go into the depth of WWII era Germany without bias (or at least with little bias) in order to explore the subtler elements in the machinery. In Gansel's view, nazi Germany was a brilliantly effective and prominent society with values that are not only lost today, but also largely missed. Its only drawback was that it was founded on a completely fouled ideology.