Sophie Scholl: The Final Days

In Munich 1943 Sophie Scholl, with her brother Hans, and a handful of fellow students at the university, produced and distributed leaflets calling for passive resistance to the Nazis and an end to the war. The Final Days takes us through her arrest, imprisonment, trial and execution but focuses on her interrogation. Julia Jensch (from The Edukators) is formidable and moving as Scholl, who at first lies so calmly and convincingly that her scrupulous inquisitor, one Robert Mohr, is about to set her free. Basing much of the dialogue on transcripts found in East German archives, it has a gripping, disquieting authenticity and reveals much about attitudes to the regime.

Mohr cajoles and bullies and comes to admire Scholl’s courage and altruism, even offering her a way to escape the guillotine. Her eventual fate though is hard to take — I desperately wanted her communist cellmate, or Mohr himself, to make a stronger pragmatic argument to accept his offer of life. There are fine supporting performances and cameos – the university caretaker, the trial judge – and nice touches like the beautifully expressive use of light. A riveting film.

Malcolm Lewis

New Internationalist issue 385 magazine cover This article is from the December 2005 issue of New Internationalist.
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