The Counterfeiters/Days Of Glory/North Face (UK-import) (DVD)

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Three European dramas set in the Second World War. 'The Counterfeiters' (2007) is based on the true story of the largest counterfeiting operation in history, set up by the Nazis in 1936. Salomon 'Sally' Sorowitsch (Karl Markovics) is a womaniser who likes to drink and gamble. He also happens to be the best counterfeiter in Berlin. His luck runs out when he is arrested by Superintendent Friedrich Herzog (Devid Striesow). Immediately thrown into the Mauthausen concentration camp, Salomon's exceptional skills are soon noted and he is transferred to the upgraded camp of Sachsenhausen where Herzog, on a secret mission, awaits his arrival. Hand-picked for his unique talent, Salomon and a group of professionals are forced to produce fake foreign currency under the programme, Operation Berhard. The group of forgers, which also includes detainee Adolf Burger (August Diehl), is given luxury barracks for its assistance. However, Adolf refuses to use his skills to help the Nazis and wants to do something that will scupper their secret operation. Faced with a moral dilemma, Salomon must decide whether his actions, which could prolong the war and risk the lives of fellow prisoners, are ultimately the right ones. 'Days of Glory' (2007), directed by Rachid Bouchareb, depicts the plight of the North African troops enlisted to fight in the French army between 1943 and 1945. Despite the fact that the four young Arabs around whom the story centres have, in effect, been called up by one colonial oppressor to fight another, they say goodbye to their families in Algeria, Morocco and Senegal and willingly step forward to take up their arms. But all find themselves shockingly discriminated against by bigots within the French army, and deprived of the few rights and privileges to which new recruits are entitled. Bouchareb's powerful and persuasive film was instrumental in French prime minister Jacques Chirac's decision to compensate all North Africans who fought in World War II by unfreezing their pensions. The German drama 'North Face' (2008) is set in 1930s Germany just before the outbreak of war. Two German climbers attempt to scale the infamous North Face of the Eiger, aka 'Murder Wall' - the ultimate goal of every European mountaineer. Many have died in the attempt, but Toni Kurz (Benno Furmann) and Andi Hinterstoisser (Florian Lukas) are convinced they will make it. Set against a backdrop of political instability and growing menace as the Nazis steadily gain power, the film juxtaposes nature at its harshest and most unforgiving with the complex - and often contradictory - nature of humanity.

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