backsight: The last execution

Nahschuss / The Last Execution (2021)

Gosh, I had been meaning to do this for a long time: write a few sentences about a film I saw, a book I read, something I heard. And here we go, the first one:

This German film came out last year. I heard people talk about it, because this story was still in them. Metabolizing. It was screened yesterday in the Digital Gym, with English subtitles, so I went.

The sujet, based on historical events: The last death sentence in the 40 years of East German history. Executed. At close range. The closest range possible. In 1981. The East German Stasi killed one of their own.

For me, one of those films where I focused on the story, felt it, lived in it. The warped, inhumane manipulation of people in the Stasi and outside of it. Manipulating and being manipulated. Each on their own. Cleverly and brutally enmeshed. Soon after their greed sucked them into tentacles of the secret service. Horrific and human. In its weaknesses.

The film-making and acting must have been very good; I got gripped by the story, the characters, the tension. I saw David Striesow – here the commanding Stasi officer – in Ich bin dann mal weg / I am off then (2015), when he played the loveable Hape Kerkeling walking the Camino de Santiago. In Nahschuss, he is traumatized, empty, and nasty.

Highly recommended.