REICHSORCHESTER (The) - The Berlin Philharmonic and the Third Reich (NTSC) (Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra/ Wilhelm Furtwangler) (Arthaus Dvd: 101453)
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In 2007 the Berlin Philharmonic celebrated its 125th anniversary. It has chosen to mark this anniversary year by highlighting a previously unknown chapter in its history - the years from1933 to 1945. Financed by the German Reich and answerable directly to the Reich Ministry for Popular Enlightenment and Propaganda, the Berlin Philharmonic was not only Germany's flagship orchestra; it also became an ambassador for the National Socialist regime, particularly on foreign tours. In this new documentary by Enrique S?ínchez Lansch (RHYTHM IS IT!) the spotlight is on the orchestra itself - the musicians, the people, their individual destinies. Although its members were much less exposed than their principal conductor Wilhelm Furtw?ñngler, they, like him, moved in circles close to the powers that bestowed privilege and thereby encouraged people to shirk individual responsibility. The unique and microcosmic world of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra proves a fascinating subject for examination. First-hand accounts of life in and around the orchestra, delivered by contemporary witnesses still alive today, as well as a wealth of previously unevaluated archive material, provide a highly authentic glimpse into the period under the swastika. The film brings to life, in a manner as fascinating as it is sensitive, this chapter in the history of Germany and its capital Berlin, and explores the question: How does one tread the fine line between independence and individual responsibility?