Bye Bye Germany is advertised as a comedy, and although it is of a lighter tone than most films about the Holocaust, it is not a comedy. Actually it’s not much of anything. After World War II, Holocaust survivor David Bermann (Moritz Bleibtreu) would like to restart the linen store his family had in Frankfurt before it was seized by the Nazi. But the American forces refuse to grant him a licence. So Bermann gathers up a group of Jewish salesmen, Holocaust survivors like him, to sell linens door-to-door. At the same time he is interrogated by Special Agent Sara Simon (Antje Traue). American forces think that Bermann seemed to have come through the camps unscathed. Bermann tells Sara he started telling jokes to a Nazi officer, who thought that Bermann was so good that he was kept protected. The officer wanted to use Bermann for a special mission. So his jokes saved him. I did not find the topic or its treatment very interesting. With so many underdeveloped, boring characters, after a while I just stopped caring. But one thing is certain, Bye Bye Germany is not a comedy.
Plays at Ottawa’s ByTowne Cinema from June 15 – 21
Bye Bye Germany (Es war einmal in Deutschland…)
Based on Bergmann’s novels
In German and English with English subtitles.