“This film is based on a true story”, is the opening line of “Silent Revolution” and the film would be just as impactful without it. The film’s story is adapted from an autobiography and set during a specially sensitive era in communist East Germany, in 1956 when the Berlin wall was not erected yet and though difficult it was still possible to make the trip between East and West Germany. The story is told from the perspective of two high school seniors, excited for the future. Their disposition in stark contrast with their parents who are mentally scarred from the previous decade. The boys are Theo and Kurt. Theo is in love with Lena, the beautiful girl in their school, overall it seems the boys live a blissful life, using the pretence of visiting the grave of Kurt’s Nazi grandfather in West Germany to cross the border and spend time at the house of an old man who lives just across it. After each trip, they regale their fellow classmates with tales of the amazing time they had on the other side of the fence and the little radio he has that tells them about the state of the world. Little do they know that this blissful existence will come crashing down very soon.
On their latest trip, the boys listening to the news find out about an anti-communist uprising in Budapest that is violently crushed. They decide to hold a moment of silence in the name of a famous footballer who is killed in the demonstrations, an act of pure solidarity with their fellow human beings which they decide upon during a game. This little act starts a chain of horrible events.
“Silent Revolution” is a charming, conventional, well-crafted drama that depicts the fear of that era in history. This fear is depicted alongside exciting side stories of love triangles, betrayal, familial drama and the fear of deep secrets being revealed. The forces of the story cause a divide between its characters, with one side claiming to stand for workers, the downtrodden and revolutionaries and label the other side as Nazis, murderers and enemies of the revolution. The happy and blissful existence of the boys turns in to an existence filled with fear, pain, and death through the ever-growing oppression of the communist government in charge and pressures from their family. This is all made more bitter to watch for a 21st-century audience who knows whats around the corner.
A lot of films have been made about Nazis but “Silent Revolution” is set in a time that gives it a fresh perspective. Considering these film are still being made, maybe the fear and trauma of that horrible time still remains.