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249 Ratings

Not Reconciled, Or Only Violence Helps Where Violence Rules

Nicht versöhnt oder Es hilft nur Gewalt wo Gewalt herrscht

Directed by Jean-Marie Straub
West Germany, 1965


It is a story about the continuity and collapse of history, the power of suppression, and the terror of reconciliation; loyalty, treason and revenge.

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Not Reconciled, Or Only Violence Helps Where Violence Rules Directed by Jean-Marie Straub
Straub provides no visual or aural clues to the change in epoch, leaving the viewer to scour the frames for clues. It is a disorienting tactic, but one that emphatically places the past inside of the present. . . . Even getting these bare character facts is difficult in a film so immune to exposition – it is a work of irresolution. Straub described it as a “lacunary” film, or one filled with gaps.
June 17, 2018
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In contrast to the long, austere takes in Chantal Akerman’s early work, its editing is relatively rapid; the first post-credits shot of the film lasts no more than three seconds. Thus, Not Reconciled feels like a film that is simultaneously fast and slow, and – particularly given its heavy use of dialogue and voiceover drawn from Böll’s text – one that will likely be a challenge for viewers to keep up with on first viewing both in terms of narrative and characters.
September 20, 2017
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The special achievement of Not Reconciled is its capricious jamming together of three periods of German history. What in any other film might serve to clarify the action—descriptive titles, observable changes in costume and decor, expository voice-over narration—is here almost totally upended. Information comes without the customary gadgetry of narrative filmmaking; the attitude toward time is (always) wonderfully, strangely agnostic.
May 27, 2016
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