Plenty of World War II films have been made. That is because it made such a mark on people from all corners of the world. Despite the fact that we are over 77 years removed from it there are still stories to be discovered – of the big and small variety.
Andreas Kessler’s, a German director, film Nakam would slot into the small category, though I am sure it is a story that many young or older people lived through at the time or even after. That makes the film relatable even for those who did not live through the war. It is also an illustration of how one decision by one person can affect many people.
It is 1943 and World War II is raging on. In German-occupied Ukraine, people are just trying to survive. A 12-year-old is living through the horror of war. Doing his best to survive day-to-day, Mitka (Anton Krymskiy – appeared in episodes of television’s The Queen’s Gambit and Inventing Anna), under a fake name, plays violin with older pianist Yegor (Yevgeni Sitokhin – The Bourne Supremacy) in a Ukrainian restaurant to earn food to eat. The two, despite their age difference, are close. Yegor has become a musical partner and a mentor to Mitka.
What no one knows is that Mitka is part of a Jewish partisan movement. So when he is able to help that group execute a strike on a group of SS officers while they are at the restaurant eating and listening to Mitka and Yegor play, the youngster finds himself in a tough spot as the attack puts Yegor’s life in jeopardy. A tough decision for a 12-year-old boy.
Like many war films, this one is inspired by a true story. Shows how, during times of war, there are rarely any easy decisions. It seems like each one puts someone’s life in danger. You can only imagine the stress put on someone so young to make a decision like this.
It is amazing how almost 8 decades later that Nazism is still such a strong force in today’s world. Most were horrified by what the Nazis did to Jewish people during World War II. And yet this has not seemed to teach us anything as right wing politics seems to be dominant in many places across the globe and anti-semitism on the rise again. Leaders spring up who seem determined to divide people into left or right. Making it a world of one side versus the other. We have to make an extra effort to remember what lessons from the past have taught us. Films like this are even more important than ever in an environment like this.