Germany / 93’
cast Ulrich Matthes, Barbara Auer
from the novel Krieg by Jochen Rausch
screenplay Hannah Hollinger
cinematographer Leah Striker
editor Christoph Wermke
production designer KD Gruber
costume designer Natascha Curtius-Noss
music Stefan Will
sound Stefan Soltau
special effects Rainer Metz
Rick Ostermann - Krieg
Germany / 93’
What is the price of peace? Krieg is the story of Arnold Stein, who, looking to find personal peace, withdraws to an isolated mountain cabin. This peace is breached when a stranger starts terrorizing him, and draws him into a nerve-recking conflict. In flash-backs we learn about Chris, Arnold’s son, who, against his parents’ wishes, decided to enlist in the army and to volunteer for a tour in a conflict-zone. All desperate attempts to dissuade him are in vain. Arnold and his wife, Karen, assure each other that, surely, he’ll come back in one piece. But soon enough the horrible news of Chris’ death in action arrives. Mourning the loss of their son, Karen takes her own life. Arnold resigns from his job as a teacher and flees the wreckage of his life to the supposed idyll of the mountains. A remote cabin, high in the mountains, snow, a man and a dog. Arnold Stein has been living a life of a recluse in the rough world of the mountains for weeks, and only descends to the village occasionally. But life is not as withdrawn and isolated as it seems in this weather-worn cabin with all its secrets: in his absence, a stranger destroys the last objects that are still meaningful to him; his dog is brutally hurt—a struggle for life or death against an unknown opponent ensues. And suddenly, Arnold understands how everything is connected: his son’s fate, his wife’s destructive grief, his own flight from a life in which he fights back for once. Arnold goes to war against a stranger, and has to face the question if man must kill to keep his peace.
In the novel Krieg Jochen Rausch tells a special story of war—the war of the armed participant, and that of the impact on those he has left behind. The story of the book and the movie is that of our main character, Arnold, who turns from pacifist to warrior. Arnold, a husband and a father, has to painfully learn to take responsibility for his life. After he loses his family through his passivity, it’s only when he begins to defend what matters to him, that he learns to accept the consequences of his actions and comes to terms with his guilt. These layers—the conflict within the family and the war in the mountains—for me, are at the heart of the movie. With Krieg I do not only want to show the senselessness of war, but also the victory of humanity over human killing.