It’s unusual to see a WWII movie where the Russian and German armies are depicted positively, and it’s perhaps even more unusual to see a WWII movie with as little combat as Achim Von Borries’ 4 Tage im Mai, a German/Russian/Ukrainian co-production that premiered on Piazza Grande on Tuesday night. But perhaps more than a WWII movie, 4 Tage im Mai is the coming of age story of a young orphan (played by Pavel Wenzel) dealing with his first, intense feelings of love, jealousy, ardor for combat, and a good dose of unawareness of the consequences of his feats of courage. The movie is based on a true story and set during the last four days of WWII, when a Russian troupe peacefully occupies an orphanage on the German coast. The young boy tries to defend the orphanage, at first by threatening the Russians with a rifle gun and later by enlisting the help of nearby German soldiers. Luckily for him, the Russian captain (played by Aleksei Guskov) is an honorable man who feels a paternal affection for the boy. Even though the movie is set at the closing of WWII, paradoxically the only combat scene is at the very end, once surrender has been declared and the war is officially over. And even more paradoxically, it involves two Russian troupes attacking each other, with the German platoon intervening to put an end to the fighting, but not before many soldiers have died for no good reason other than a personal settlement. Beautifully shot and at times quite funny, the film is not a masterpiece but surely worth watching, especially for its unusual perspectives.
Watch the trailer (in German) here.