Thursday, April 03, 2008


Dresden, 1945. The Second World War is coming to an end as the Allied and the Red Army close in on Germany. In the city of Dresden, Anna Mauth works as a nurse at a Red Cross Hospital. Devoted and loyal to her duty, Anna's off days are also spent tending to patients. That her father is the director of the hospital and equally committed the welfare of his patients, is an added bonus for Anna. At the same hospital is Dr. Alexander Wenninger, Anna's fiance, in a match that is heartily endorsed by both set of parents.

As one of the largest cities in the German army’s Eastern command, Dresden needs to be destroyed so that Stalin’s troops can march into Berlin. The RAF bomber command has plans to annihilate Dresden’s military base. On the night of February 13, as British Lancaster bombers hover over Dresden, they are shot down. One of the bomber pilots, Robert Newman survives. Shot and wounded he hides in the basement of the hospital and is discovered by Anna. Anna mistakes him for a deserter from the German Army. And she knows the fate of such people (earlier we are shown a horrific scene where a woman who hid her deserter husband is executed on the hospital premises). Anna keeps silent and helps Robert recuperate. As they fall in love, Robert’s true identity is revealed to Anna but not before she becomes aware of shady wheeling and dealing going on in her father’s world.

Shocked and outraged, Anna has to decide where her loyalties lie. Is it to her country, to her family or to her lover? Amidst her torment, arrive the bombers and the sudden indiscriminate bombings completely destroy her city.

A brilliant film, Dresden portrays the true ramifications of war. It shows how war is not merely blood and gore or rubble and ruins. And while these may be the most visible post war vignettes, what we cannot see is the destruction of human values and spirit. But the silver lining is that amidst the wreck and destruction, there are those few who will always rise to the occasion and show extraordinary courage in the bleakest moment. In them rests the hope for humanity.