Echoes of the Past review – Max von Sydow’s latest film is the coda to a Nazi atrocity | Movies
Max von Sydow, in his final film role, does what he can to lend gravity to this strange, stilted and contrived film, a fictional drama based on a gruesome Nazi atrocity in occupied Greece in 1943, for which the question repairs always growls on . At Kalavryta in the northern Peloponnese, nearly 700 civilians were shot by Nazi forces in chilling retaliation for Greek resistance fighters who executed 78 captured German soldiers. Von Sydow plays Nikolas, an aging Greek writer who miraculously escaped the massacre as a young boy, but has been haunted by it ever since. In the present day, Astrid Roos plays Caroline Martin, an ambitious Berlin lawyer who is tasked by a heartless and cynical German government with traveling to Greece and finding details that could undermine their demand for reparations.
The tense occupation and massacre of 1943 itself is told in flashback, and director Nicholas Dimitropoulos does a reasonably professional job of this drama. But the film strangely insists on imagining a “good German” tightrope walker who supposedly helps Greek women and children. It is her existence that Caroline refuses to use against the Greek government, because of this foreseeable crisis of conscience to which the action had led without subtlety from the beginning. She indeed becomes the second imaginary “good German” of the film, whose behavior is in contradiction with the cynical German government.
Curiously, Caroline finally sets off on a trip to Austria to interview the sad and holy widow of this fictional good soldier, and she’s played by Alice Krige, looking if anything younger than Von Sydow, who was supposed to be a little boy in the ‘era. . The film’s only real power moment comes when Caroline visits the actual Kalavrytan Holocaust Museum and stands in front of the memorial gallery of photographs: the faces of the victims. It has real substance. This movie no.