The Refusal

Film, Documentaries

Time Out says

A dramatised documentary about Franz Jägerstetter, perhaps the least understandable type of our times: the man who dies for his religious principles. Austria, 1943: the Catholic Church and the local community have adopted the line of least resistance towards the Nazis. Against everyone's advice, Jägerstetter refuses to do military service, accepting execution rather than serve a country in which he has no rights, only obligations. Only secondarily, however, is the film concerned with one man's martyrdom; primarily it deals with the very ordinary people party to it. Much has been made of the human body's capacity for deprivation and abuse (reinforced by a soldier talking of Stalingrad) at the expense of the mind's faculty for the same. Jägerstetter's exception points to the rule: crises like living under Nazi regimes do little to formulate people's attitudes. Life is a matter of prevarication and endurance, and afterwards forgetting. Thirty years later, the villagers interviewed in this film had little opinion either way about the whole business.


Release details

94 mins

Cast and crew

Alex Corti
Hellmut Kindler
Kurt Weinzierl
Julia Gschnitzer
Hugo Gottschlich
Helmut Wlasak
Fritz Schmiedl
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