Thursday, June 23, 2011

Sophie Scholl

Clive James calls Sophie Scholl something like the best human being since Jesus Christ, which is ridiculous but also hard to argue with. The film named after her is surprisingly worth watching, I thought. Surprising because you might expect it to be both boringly predictable and depressing. But it isn't really either, at least not as much I had feared. The general story goes as you would expect (one young woman does not bring down the Nazi government), but the details were sufficiently unknown to me for me to be able to wonder would she be arrested for this act?, would she be let go this time?, would she stick to her story here or admit the truth?, etc. And as the answers to such questions are revealed you see someone decide to stand up for the truth and what is right. She is not presented as a holy will who can do no wrong. She is a human being who will not go along with the human-faced evil that is literally (in the form of her interrogator) staring her in the face. And this is not depressing but inspiring.  


  1. I agree. Very much enjoyed the flick.

    Had one seen it after a laborious day at work -- with stress and focused thinking -- one would give it the honorary award of qualifying as "the shower bath" that Wittgenstein spoke of, with respect to good flicks after a lecture. (I don't know he actually used that idea in reference only to good flicks, as opposed to flicks generally, but I could see that being the point -- especially today).

  2. Yes, although I thought the movies he regarded that way were mostly fairly mindless, which this one isn't. But I know next to nothing about which films he saw. I watched the 1939 version of Stagecoach recently and thought he probably would have liked that. A classic Western with John Wayne and bad guys who look like the cowboy in Curious George, but also a little wisdom, as the outlaw John Wayne treats the prostitute in a much more Christian way than the respectable passengers on the coach do.

  3. ... your right about his preference for Westerns and things like detective mags. You may also be right about everything. But I'm not sure that the stuff had to be "mindless" (or silly) to constitute the "bath" (though one could understand this idea too). Here's Monk:

    "This fast-acting, fast-shooting, honest sort of a guy [in detective mags] bears an obvious similarity to movie cowboys, and it is probably no coincidence that the Western was Wittgenstein's favorite genre. By the late 1930s, however, his taste had broadened to include musicals. His favourite actresses, he told Malcolm, were Carmen Miranda and Betty Hutton. Exhausted and disgusted by his lectures, he would invariably go off to see a 'flick' after them, accompanied by Malcolm, Smythies or one of his other friends from the class. He would always sit at the front of the cinema, where he could be totally immersed in the picture. He described the experience to Malcolm as 'like a shower bath,' washing away his thoughts of the lecture." (423.)

    Like I say, one could easily understand the idea either way. He did engage in silly and mindless things as an escape -- he had specific friends for that purpose. But I had always taken the "bath" to be the captivation of cinema generally (and assuming that good flicks had for better "baths"). But thank you for the other idea, too.

  4. Thanks! I had remembered this as being about washing away all thoughts, not just thoughts of his own lectures. I had mis-remebered it, in other words. So you are probably right.

    How much fun would it be to go to the movies with someone exhausted and disgusted? Especially by a class that you were part of. In those circumstances it might be best to see some mindless fun, but that doesn't mean Wittgenstein felt that way.

  5. Only If we had some of Her courage in our everyday undertakings.

    1. Yes indeed. We could all do with being more like her.

  6. Just saw the movie.I am still under the impression.
    Sophie and others white rose members are worth remembering.
    We will never forget YOU.