by guest writer
Rotation (1949) is an unusual WWII movie, seen through the perspective of a German eye this time. Wolfgang Staudte’s film is more focused on the social unrest that led Germany, after 1918, to the coming of the Nazis to power at the beginning of the ’30s. Historically accurate and realistic, Rotation is more of a cause-result kind of movie, trying to offer a better understanding of what generated this hatred and what the outcome was. Hans Behnke, played by Paul Esser, is trying to stay out of trouble and out of the political involvement, focusing on how to support his wife and growing son. His life takes an unexpected turn when the Gestapo catches up with his brother-in-law and when his son turns up to be a young believer in the Nazi values.
Moving from present to past, using the flashback technique, the film creates a wonderful connection between the two with such ease. Rotation is an honest product of the DEFA studios, located on the ex-UFA lot, a vehement critique of war in general, of the victims it produced and not concentrated on ethnic collateral damages. Personal victory seems to belong to the ones willing to forgive and forget what happened, this is the transcending message.
photo: still from the film | credit: Deutsche Film (DEFA)