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3.5
869 Ratings

Not Reconciled, Or Only Violence Helps Where Violence Rules

Nicht Versöhnt oder Es hilft nur Gewalt, wo Gewalt herrscht

Directed by Jean-Marie Straub
West Germany, 1965
Drama

Synopsis

As the directors hopscotch across the chronologies of Heinrich Böll’s novel, moving freely between the 1910s Kaiser autocracy and the 1950s Adenauer economic miracle, they chart the origins and legacy of Nazism, and the moral demands of obedience and sacrifice within the German bourgeois family.

Not Reconciled, Or Only Violence Helps Where Violence Rules Directed by Jean-Marie Straub
The special achievement of Not Reconciled is its capricious jamming together of three periods of German history. What in any other film might serve to clarify the action—descriptive titles, observable changes in costume and decor, expository voice-over narration—is here almost totally upended. Information comes without the customary gadgetry of narrative filmmaking; the attitude toward time is (always) wonderfully, strangely agnostic.
May 27, 2016
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Only the subtlest of indicators alert viewers to the story’s complex flashbacks… Straub and Huillet bring the layers of history to life in the present tense, which they judge severely. The tamped-down acting and the spare, tense visual rhetoric evoke a moral crisis as well as the response—as much in style as in substance—that it demands.
July 17, 2015
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For all its difficulty and complexity as an integral narrative, Not Reconciled registers more simply and conventionally than Straub’s other works within its individual sequences, and is perhaps his only film to which the usual concept of mise en scène can comfortably be applied.
March 01, 1976
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