Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Where Hands Touch - an interracial love story during WWII

Greetings, commies!

You know my fondness for obscure historical occurrences that get ignored (unfairly) by writers and filmmakers. Where Hands Touch is the answer to my prayers, the treat for my hunger. The archetype of a tormented, conflicted, sympathetic Nazi soldier is not new, but in this film it's taken to a different level and given an additional layer of human complexity. I am grateful that there is a film highlighting the complicated plight of Afro-Germans during WWII. They were not exterminated en masse like Jews or gypsies, and they were given some protection under the Reich, but their position was rather precarious. 


When the daughter of a white German mother and an African father meets a member of the Hitler Youth - compulsory for all Aryan boys in 1944 Germany, they must battle against the fates laid out before them during the most brutal of times.

My thoughts:

This film exceeded my already high expectations, from impeccable casting to authentic acting. A film like this could have been so easy to ruin with excessive sentimentality or righteousness. There were so many opportunities to throw in some 21st century righteousness and monologues about human dignity. Thankfully, the screenwriter did not tumble into that ravine. Humanist ideology is strategically rationed.

I will not commit the common crime and compare the main characters to Romeo & Juliet - that would be a lazy shortcut - but this is a story of two ideologically confused and conflicted lovers. Leyna and Lutz discover the difference between patriotism and allegiance to an absurd regime. I was a little surprised that Leyna was not more bitter towards her ... hm... "fatherland" after all the rejection and mockery she had faced there, after all the filthy things she had heard. She continues clinging to the idea of being German and loving Germany. She has a sort of Stockholm syndrome towards her country and her background.

Any time you have an international cast, the director has to decide which language they speak in and if they should have an accent. You have American and British actors faking German accent to various degrees of authenticity, but that does not detract from the movie.

The character who plays Lutz also has some moderate acne. I don't know if it was a deliberate move to not have it treated prior to shooting. Those teenage outbreaks give him an air of vulnerability. It's terrifying to see that scrawny, pale, pimply kid in an SS uniform. Makes you think of how many other German boys were cajoled into this hellish situation under similar circumstances.

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