Country: France / Germany
Review: Veteran German filmmaker Volker Shlondorff shows the same characteristic attributes that made him known in the past, although without presenting anything really new, in this war movie with political and psychological substance. “Calm At Sea” was made in an old-fashioned way, but still conveys some emotional breath, despite its simplistic plot. Set in WWII, the film recreates the true events that happened in the Choiseul internment camp in France, where a group of political French prisoners, most of them communist militants, were condemned to be shot as a reprisal for the assassination of a German commandant in Nantes. Among the condemned was the 17-year-old Guy Moquet, who would become a symbol of the French Resistance, and whose love for a young girl named Odette was used here as emotional bait. The same happened with Claude Lalet, a young student who was about to leave the camp. Apart from these two situations, the brave men accepted their fate without much agitation and the film proceeds calmly to its bitter conclusion. It was interesting to see German officials opposing in secrecy to Hitler’s decision, or a French opportunist betraying his compatriots. The less credible scenes had to do with a troubled German soldier who wasn't able to kill. “Calm At Sea” took into account the real documents written by Pierre-Louis Basse, Ernst Junger (the most curious character in the movie), and Heinrich Boll.