TJFF 2018: Our Review of ‘Bye Bye Germany’

TJFF 2018: Our Review of ‘Bye Bye Germany’

Bye Bye Germany is a character study on David Bermann (Moritz Bleibtreu) and his interchangeable friends. I already feel bad for being icy towards this film because these characters are Jewish men who survived Nazi-era Europe. Besides, there are things that I liked in this movie, like its depiction of displaced people.

These characters live in the state of limbo between Germany and the final destination of their choosing. What director Sam Garbarski gets slightly right is their relationship with the temporary spaces around them. The fact that these places aren’t homey is where the comedy tries to come through.

In 1946, David and his work friends are salesmen. However, the film takes us back specifically to David’s life under fascism. His past life, as it goes, complicates his present. Through flashbacks, the movie also explores survivor’s guilt. Without giving much away, an SS officer plucked him out of the camps.

This officer then allows him to be in close proximity to Hitler. Bleibtreu presents a balancing act in the film in general. He shows David’s fear in the flashbacks, living under a regime. Even after Hitler’s death emotions run high, since David’s work during the war seems suspicious to some.

Bye Bye Germany is male-centric, which is, supposedly, frustratingly normal in any film much less ones within the war genre. It also shows how the male characters have no idea how to act around women. This is understandable, keeping their damage in mind, yet these interactions are cringe worthy.

Bye Bye Germany‘s main female is Sarah Simon (Antje Traue), a Jewish-American investigating David’s relationship with Hitler. The movie has moments that show her vulnerabilities and own rich and interesting back story. It’s too bad that when the film decides to take the usual route while exploring their relationship.

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While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watch movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.
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