Sunday, November 25, 2007

Das Wunder von Bern

Richard, a coal miner from Essen, returns after nearly a decade of being a Soviet prisoner of war in Siberia. In the meantime, his wife, two sons and one daughter have reached a minimum standard of living without him. When he is unexpectedly repatriated in 1954, he has severe problems in reintegrating himself with his family and country. His wife is running a small business, his elder son has become a Communist challenging his father's ideals of the Nazi time, his daughter flirts with his former enemies, American GIs, and his 11-year-old son Matthias, who never knew his father, admires a local football hero instead, Helmut Rahn of Rot-Weiß Essen.
While Richard is initially very stern about Matthias' love for football, he gradually softens such that, on the night before the final, father and son drive to Bern to see the match.
An additional plot of the movie is the personal triumph of Helmut Rahn, for whom Matthias becomes a lucky mascot. Rahn, nicknamed "The Boss", has a successful record at club level, though is rarely chosen to play at national level in trainer Sepp Herberger's team.
There are several miraculous events in the movie. For Richard, it is the sudden joy of scoring a goal with an abandoned football. For Rahn, it is seeing Matthias on the sideline that spurs him into scoring the winning goal. For Sepp Herberger, however, the miracles are more mundane: the sudden rain that slows down the Hungarians, but not so much the Germans fitted with Adi Dassler's revolutionary screw-in football spikes. For all Germans, its the unexpected euphoria of a win that heals many wounds, becoming a symbol of the ongoing economic "miracle".

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1 comment:

Jenny said...

Das Wunder von Bern is a very great film. I enjoyed watching it a lot! I think everybody in Germany who is interested in football does know the story of it even before the film was made!