Germany, Year Zero
"In Germany, Year Zero, the final panel of his war triptych, Rossellini turns to post-war Berlin in an effort to shed light on the national character which gave rise to Hitler hysteria. 'The Germans were human beings, just like the rest of us. How had they come to this point, though? False morality? That's the essence of Nazism. Rejecting humility? Making a cult of heroism? Exalting strength over weakness? Pride over simplicity? This is why I chose to tell the story of a child.' (R. Rossellini)
"Living in an environment where corruption and disorder pervade, 13-year-old Edmund falls under the tutelage of a pernicious schoolmaster. Unfettered by the reprehensible repercussions of fascist dogma, the teacher fills the youth with his warped morality. Taking the mentor's words on duty and heroism as gospel truth, impressionable Edmund murders his ailing father. The boy's initial illusion that his act was heroic later gives way to a troubled conscience set to work by what Rossellini termed 'the tiny flame of morality.' In the end, Edmund commits suicide to escape the pain and confusion which his crime has wrought."