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Wednesday, Jan 15 1997
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Three Days in April
In this entry from the Castro's "Berlin & Beyond" festival, first-time director Oliver Storz paints the end of the war in a small German village as something like we imagine the end of the world. People have become accustomed to the sound of shelling; they've faced the deprivation of war and the intrusion of soldiers, and they've adapted to each new change in their patterns of life. That doesn't mean life continues on in its course, it means that lives adopt new courses, like trees growing around wounds or obstructions. At the time this film begins, life in the village has gotten decidedly strange. Soldiers and deserters hang out in the bar, displaced musicians practice songs in English for the expected arrival of the Americans, and the villagers struggle with disillusionment as their government crumbles. Storz, a playwright and novelist in his 60s, based this story on an incident he discovered while doing research for his autobiographical novel Die Nebelkinder: Train cars of prisoners destined for the death camps are diverted to a small village. The townspeople, tortured by the wails of the sick and dying, plead with every official they can find to do something. When nothing is done they have to deal with the question of responsibility, one made all the more urgent by the suffering of the people in the cars. Three Days in April is about something more than life during wartime; it's a fascinating exploration of the moral accommodations good people make.

-- Kathleen Maher

Three Days in April screens Wednesday, Jan. 15, at 7 p.m. at the Castro, Castro & Market, as part of the ongoing "Berlin & Beyond" festival of German films. Tickets are $6.50; call 621-6120.

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Kathleen Maher

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