TV

Generation War – TV Review

Generation War

RTE last night broadcast the first episode of the German epic Generation War (Unsere Mütter, Unsere Väter). Produced by the makers of Downfall, it draws comparisons to the excellent Band of Brothers. There are no Wahlbergs in it and it’s only a fraction of the length of the American series but it’s just as brilliant. It tells the story of five young friends in 1941 Berlin. They are separated due to the war and vow to reunite for Christmas. However, their paths do not cross again until 1946 when their lives have changed forever.

They are two soldier brothers, an aspiring singer and her Jewish tailor boyfriend and a naive army nurse. The action moves from Nazi-terrorized Berlin to the Russian front and is interspersed with historical footage and personal insights. It received record ratings when it aired over three nights in Germany and sparked a national debate. Der Spiegel called it a “turning point in German television” and a review in Suddeutsche Zeitung said Generation War provides “the first and last chance .. to ask grandparents about their true biographies, their immoral compromises … the missed chances to act – everything which, in masses, leads to catastrophe.” The BBC’s plans to broadcast Generation War have led Britain’s Polish community to protest outside the BBC’s headquarters due to perceived depictions of anti-semitism in Poland’s Home Army.

Amazing acting, writing and epic production qualities should be enough to lure you in and make up your own mind about this German point of view. The first episode in currently on the RTE Player and the second airs on RTE 2 on Sunday 24th November at 9pm.

By Julie Melia

Categories: TV

5 replies »

  1. missed downfall but loved this. I felt Guilty for having sympathy for the characters, but Freidhelms character maybe explains that war as this makes animals of all.
    NOt much about the death of so many russians poles jews gypsy gays etc , but shows a futility and how a whole nation can be exploited by ideology. Similar to American might really, never wrong~!!

    • I have just watched the series in Australia. Part 3 was last night. I have read so many comments and reviews about it and criticisms about it too. But in the end I agree that it was the futility of it all that came strongly across. It cannot depict everything or every experience that people had. This just take 5 people out of millions and tells their story. I had huge sympathy for the characters too and what it demonstrated was how complicated one’s choices become and how possible death is usually the other choice. I know there was lots of criticism about the Polish group being anti-Semitic. But that was one small group too. I think it was absolutely brilliant and I am sure that it could have been 6 hours long and still be absolute gripping viewing. Well done producers, writers and actors.!!!

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