The Williams Lake Film Club has chosen a special film for Remembrance Day, The Bridge, or Die Brücke, as it is called in Germany.
The Bridge is considered one of the most important and best-known anti-war films ever to come out of Germany.
It tells the story of seven 15 and 16 year old academic high school students who become involved in the defense of a bridge in their town during the last days of the Second World War.
They live in a sleepy small town which has so far been spared by actions of war. But based on ever stronger propaganda over the radio and through newspapers, these boys are truly excited to finally get a chance to defend their town and their country.
They are young kids looking for adventure, but in actuality they are “canon fodder” as it was then called. They were used to keep up the pretense and the morale.
The film was made in 1958 and released in Germany in 1959.
During that time Germany was still suffering the effects of the war very visibly.
There was not much available for filming equipment.
All instructions had to be given via megaphone, there were no tanks, so they built wooden models. The film was to be presented in April, so they had dozens of unemployed men pull off the leaves of the trees to make it believable.
The kids were just that, kids, not actors, although some of them have become great actors since. These are some of the minor efforts Wicki went through to get his film done.
The Bridge is based on an autobiography written by one such young soldier.
One day the kids are in school, living a relatively normal life, the next day they are in “war,” with all its consequences.
The Bridge received countless awards in Germany. It also received the Golden Globe Award, an Academy Award nomination for best Foreign Film and a special Peace Award from the United Nations.
But I like best what the director Bernhard Wicki said: “Thousands of young men have written me that my film was the reason for them to become conscientious war objectors. I consider this my greatest achievement.”
In Germany today, as a conscientious objector you work in a social or nursing field. It is believed that without conscientious objectors, hospitals and nursing homes would be in severe trouble.
The Bridge will be shown Tuesday, Nov. 4, at the Gibraltar Room, 7 p.m.; back doors open at 6:30 p.m.