Despite its awful dubbing and terrible subtitle, I still enjoy Napola up to the point that those two deficiencies are no longer bothering me.
German movies aren’t very common here…well in fact almost most movies from Europe aren’t as common as Hollywood’s here. I have never heard of Napola before and most likely would never hear of it if Caroline @ Beauty Is a sleeping Cat never mentioned in her All About War Movies blog. Her review really intrigued me.
I couldn’t find the original DVD (no surprise there!) and finally relied on torrentz. Unfortunately, the file is so bad that I have to postpone watching it for months after I had finished downloading it. It was dubbed in another European language, but I don’t know which country…the dubbing is not a proper dubbing, it was more like a commentary, his words are above the original voice. I was forced to hear 2 different languages spoken one above the other…and that was incredibly annoying. To make matter worse, the subtitle was equally awful. It won’t show up after ¾th of the movie, I have to open the notepad and read it while watching the movie…watching Napola is probably the worst movie viewing experience I have ever had in my entire life.
The movie itself is incredibly heartwarming and beautiful. I love everything about it. The emotion is transparently shown and has one of the most beautiful friendships in a movie. I like it so much that I overlook that dubbing and subtitle problem. I wish I can see a better version of Napola.
From Wikipedia, I found out what Napola is:
National Political Institutes of Education (German: Nationalpolitische Erziehungsanstalten; officially abbreviated NPEA, commonly abbreviated Napola for Nationalpolitische Lehranstalt meaning National Political Institution of Teaching) were secondary boarding schools in Nazi Germany. They were founded as “community education sites” after the National Socialist seizure of power in 1933.
Napola’s storyline (from Imdb)
In 1942, Friedrich Weimer’s boxing skills get him an appointment to a National Political Academy (NaPolA) – high schools that produce Nazi elite. Over his father’s objections, Friedrich enrolls, seeing this as his ticket out of factory life to university and a good salary. During his year in seventh column (fifth form), this innocence is altered as Friedrich encounters hazing, cruelty, death, and the Nazi code. His friendship with Albrecht, the ascetic son of the area’s governor, is central to this education; a night in the forest hunting for escaped Russian POWs brings things to a head.
I read mix comment for this movie in imdb but mostly saying about how inaccurate the historical view is or how it is more like to make us sympathize NAZI…I love this movie by ignoring all those facts. I always love movie about friendship and the strong and heartwarming friendship between Friedrich Weimer (Max Riemelt) and Albrecht Stein (Tom Schilling) win my heart.
Friedrich and Albrecht came from two different families, Friedrich got accepted in Napola for his skill in boxing. His parents refused his will to study there but he was so sure that his life would be better afterward if he studied there. Albrecht, on the other hand, came from a wealthy family whose father has high rank in military. Their personalities were also very different. Slowly, the softhearted Albrecht changed Friedrich to a more thinking boy. My favorite scene is when the two of them cried while hugging each other.
Friedrich and Albercht’s friendship is not the only thing I like, I also like their interaction with other students in their dorm. I can’t imagine how it feels to be in that very strict school…I bet I could go crazy if I was there.