German Lutheran theologian and pastor
Dietrich Bonhoeffer was one of the most widely-revered Christian martyrs
of the 20th century. A member of the German resistance
movement of World War II who wrote compellingly and poetically on
numerous subjects, principally the correlation between a man’s actions
and his beliefs and the need for unity within the Christian community.
Bonheoffer was arrested by the Gestapo and hanged without trial in April
1945 at Flossenburg concentration camp, less than a month before the
capitulation of the German government.
Directed, produced and narrated by Martin
Doblmeier, who also directed an excellent 2006 biopic of Albert
Schweitzer, Bonhoeffer tells the story of a bravely devout man
who refused to capitulate to the evils of Hitler’s tyrannical regime,
despite immense pressure and fears for the wellbeing of his family.
Resolute in his belief until the end, Bonhoeffer impressed the camp
doctor at Flossenburg with the strength of his religious conviction
until the very end: ‘I was most deeply moved’, wrote the doctor, ‘by the
way this lovable man prayed [prior to his execution], so devout and so
certain God heard his prayer.’
His efforts were not in vain. In an
outburst of hyperbole that nonetheless demonstrates the high esteem in
which the German resistance fighter is held, former Prime Minister Kevin
Rudd declared Bonhoeffer ‘the man I admire most in the history of the
twentieth century,’ and his impact continues to resonate around the
world. Doblmeier’s documentary is a gripping and cleverly constructed
work that presents the definitive life of this unassuming yet hugely
significant theologian, utilising interviews with family and friends,
period footage and archival stills to create a highly effective visual
Audio & Video
Nothing to shout about here, to be honest.
The picture quality is rather poor, with very soft image quality
throughout and a rather lacklustre English 2.0 the only audio option.
In fact the DVD release seems to have been transferred from a VHS master
tape, which is an unusual decision to make in this day and age. Any
deficiencies are compensated for by the strength of the material, but
still, a sharper transfer would have been desirable considering this is
the only major exploration of Bonhoeffer and his role in 20th
century theology, not to mention the anti-Nazi movement.
None, the local release is bare bones.