The Ninth Day (Der neunte Tag) Reviews

Page 2 of 3
Super Reviewer
June 5, 2013
A fabulous build up to a day when a priest must decide whether or not to be a collaborator for the Nazi regime or to go to death by opposing it. The tension builds towards the eventful day and the choice is not foreshadowed.
October 14, 2012
Story that should be told, but felt like I could have read it in a book, or newspaper article.
½ July 16, 2012
The Choice of a Single Man

The relationship between the Catholic Church and the National Socialist Party was a complicated one. This is probably why it is so often misrepresented. You can't just say that the Church collaborated with the Nazis. You can't just say that the Nazis were religious [i]or[/i] atheist. Well, obviously, you can--so many people do, after all. However, if you are interested in historical accuracy, you cannot. If you are interested in historical accuracy, you must acknowledge that there are all sorts of issues involved. In fact, I was reading about the interaction between Pope Pius XII and the Nazi government, and it shows that the Church held far less culpability in what happened in the Holocaust than they are painted to have done in popular culture. It is uncertain what the Pope could have done if he'd wanted to, and in fact he did rather more than he is remembered for doing. However, there were also definitely people of faith who believed the Nazi rise was right.

There were, as it happens, priests in Dachau. One of them was Father Jean Bernard, called Henri Kremer (Ulrich Matthes) in the film. His family is prominent in his home country of Luxembourg, and he personally is friends with the bishop. And so he is granted leave from Dachau--unheard of!--to go back to Luxembourg and convince the bishop (Vladimir Fiser, I think) to declare that the Church in Luxembourg allies itself with Nazi Germany. He is given nine days. He will meet with Untersturmführer Gebhardt (August Diehl) every day and report on his progress. If he runs away, every cleric from Luxembourg in Dachau's "priest block" will be killed. His family will also be put in danger. Perhaps worst of all, Gebhardt is a lapsed seminarian who works at convincing Kremer that betraying his country is the right thing to do--maybe the only thing to do. He preys on Gebhardt's faith, and of course there is the belief that just doing what he asks will keep Kremer from returning to Dachau.

The movie is, however loosely, based on true events. Oh, the Luxembourg Gestapo apparently did not know that Father Bernard was getting released, but for reasons no one knows to this day, he got a brief furlough from Dachau. He got ten days, and then, he went back. This story is putting a reason forward. It's also true that the Nazi Party was in a constant battle to make itself legitimate in the eyes of the faithful. I don't know any details about the Catholic Church in Luxembourg during World War II, but it seems likely to me that Nazis felt getting the Church there on their side would help end the Resistance. I doubt that's true, and indeed, one of the only people on the Wikipedia list of Luxembourgian Roman Catholic priests (at least in English) was executed as a collaborator after the war. The people would have continued to fight despite what the Nazis wanted from them, I suspect, and despite what was being preached from the pulpit.

Of course, the theology may well be the most interesting part. As part of his efforts to wear Kremer down, Untersturmführer Gebhardt reveals the thinking that he has done on Judas. Dogma holds that Judas is in Hell (I disagree with this for complicated reasons), but Gebhardt argues, rather persuasively, that Judas is as important to the faith as Jesus. Without the Crucifixion, there is no faith. This is not terribly unlike my own reasoning for why Judas is not in Hell, though I'm not sure I'd go quite so far. The theology is hard to explain, and the point here is that Luxembourg must fall in order to ensure that the Church will continue afterward. In order to have a Church in the post-war world, the Church must join with the Nazis. Now, I don't know if Gebhardt himself believes this. I'm not sure he believes there ought to be a Church. But it is a persuasive argument for a former seminarian to make to a priest. Given it was what Gebhardt's thesis was supposedly about, I have no doubt that he could have documented everything meticulously, had he felt the need.

Most Holocaust movies are driven by questions about what ordinary people would do in such extraordinary circumstances. We like to think that we would do the right thing, but movies like this suggest that it is possible for everyone to fail. Father Kremer tells in his diary the story of a lapse which might have caused the death of one of the other prisoners. On the other hand, making the decision differently might have caused Kremer's death, and who knows what difference that might have made with how Luxembourg's Catholic Church interacted with the Nazis? Kremer was the right man in the right time for the events posited by filmmaker Volker Schlöndorff. As I said, there is no reason to believe this was the case for Father Jean Bernard, especially given that I don't know very much about him. But these movies are most frequently about men who were able to make decisions that not everyone could manage. That's why we make the movies about them in the first place--because they are extraordinary.
½ April 17, 2012
An extra half star for good acting :)
½ October 22, 2011
Ha habido un sin numero de peliculas sobre el holocausto pero "The Ninth Day" encuentra la manera de contarnos una historia poco conocida. En 1942 un grupo de clerigos fueron trasportados a campos de concentracion pero un dia uno de ellos es liberado. El motivo al principio es incierto pero luego nos damos cuenta que el proposito es que el Papa (y con el, la religion catolica) acepte y promueva el nazismo como un acto avalado por Dios. El dilema de Henri Kremer es claro, o ayuda o regresa al campo de concentracion ademas de que su familia sera acosada por el regimen fascista.
"The Ninth Day" es una cinta mas intelectual que espiritual, por lo que resulta una experiencia fria. Los personajes son interesantes y por ello la cinta funciona en exponer un lado de la historia no muy difundido.
½ October 24, 2010
Difficult to watch, but well honed production. Very solid editing and cinematography. Ulrich Matthes facial expressions are subtle and the mark of a very gifted actor.
October 10, 2010
Disturbing Drama about the Relationship between the Nazis and the Catholic Church some People curse the Church as Collaborateurs but they got forced by the Nazis to walk their Way the Preachers who protested get inhabitated in Concentration Camps even the Whole Church protested they had wiped out it complete what was their Idea from the First Place there wasn't only a Jewish Final Solution there was also a Christian Final Solution
September 15, 2010
The Ninth Day is a depressing exercise in futility. It?s the classic ?damned if you do, damned if you don?t? paradox. Henri Kremer can save himself and his fellow clergy inmates from the Dachau concentration camp by persuading the bishop to change his stance regarding the Nazis. This would be in conflict with the Vatican?s official stance, but would save lives. Otherwise, he could save himself by fleeing Luxembourg, but his family and his fellow clergy still in Dachau would all be killed. Otherwise, he could do nothing and continue as a prisoner in Dachau. These are not exactly the most ideal choices and, needless to say, Kremer?s exploration of these possibilities does not offer much in the way of entertainment value.
Ulrich Matthes stars as Kremer and his performance is one of intricacy. He does most of his acting with his movement and his facial features. His dialogue is kept to a minimum, with exception to a couple of brief outbursts. Kremer is a man fighting his own morality and Matthes expresses this flawlessly. In his scenes with August Diehl?s Gebhardt, he is nothing short of brilliant. The subtle nuances in the way he uses his eyes and moves his body lets us know that there is a lot more going on in his head than what he is letting on. Considering the possible implications of what Kremer could say, perhaps it was necessary for him to keep his dialogue to a minimum. These scenes are really the back bone of the movie as they are the only scenes that offer any legitimate drama.
The Ninth Day is only 90 minutes in length, but it feels much longer. The film suffers from a lack of pacing as there is not enough conflict to support the story. There are occasional flashbacks which give us a better understanding of the mental psyche of Kremer, but there is not enough character development to make us genuinely care about him or his dilemma. The film has the entertainment value of a standardized test and that is essentially what it is. What decision will Kremer ultimately make? It?s not exactly ?Who shot J.R.?? is it? The performances are all adequate to strong, the cinematography has moments of beauty (especially in the flashback sequences), and the screenplay offers up some thought-provoking ideas (Judas? betrayal necessary for Christianity?s existence), but the film is a hollow shell which does not offer anything to the viewer other than a hollow feeling.
½ October 14, 2006
This movie had potential, but fell through the cracks. To bad.
½ February 23, 2008
Good for a lazy Sunday afternoon sort
July 24, 2007
Camps de concentration et abominables tortures infligées par les nazis Ce métrage commence en force : 10 minutes de violence intense, la caméra est agitée, on est mal à l'aise, et puis, c'est l'attente... que va-t-il se passer? Mélange de drame, de guerre, de violence, "le neuvième jour" range Volker Schlöndorff au rang des grands réalisateurs.
April 14, 2007
Average film, rather derivative and clichéd. The cinematography has that dry, home-movie look to it. Matthes underacts.

The dialogue and August Diehl are just enough to make this movie interesting. Like the title says, it's nothing new.
April 1, 2007
i watched it because of august diehl. and it was WORTHED.
½ January 15, 2007
It is good. In a way is like Sophie Scholl.
December 28, 2006
Gripping story about priests, concentration camps, and the quandry of Pious XII during world war II. Very well done.
December 12, 2006
I wonder what this is about, i think ill see it!
July 11, 2006
Brilliant film. I loved the development of the plot and also the characters, the way the priest is and the comparison with Judas, especially Gebhardt's thoughts on Judas.

I personally think this could've been excellent if the relationship with the sister was more clearer and fleshed out, she was a really great character, and I personally think it is a movie better than Schindler's List, the movie was much better and cohesive and even better directed.
Page 2 of 3