Schlondorff’s superior WWII movie is not the Holocaust concentration-camp drama one might expect from the opening scenes set in Dachau. In 1942, a priest (Matthes, remarkable) is released by the Nazis and allowed to return to the family home in Luxembourg – but not for good: he has nine days in which to persuade the intransigent Bishop to work with the occupying forces. Thereafter, the film becomes in many regards a philosophically and ethically sophisticated two-hander, in which two men – the priest and an idealistic Nazi officer formerly in a Catholic seminary – do battle with one another and their respective faiths; the other characters exist primarily to exert pressure on the two antagonists. Unfussily made, beautifully performed, and old-fashioned in the best sense, it’s one of its director’s finest films for some years.
The Ninth Day
Cast and crew