TorinoFilmLab - Training, development, Funding


The Crux

Ulrike Tony Vahl



A remote village in Germany shortly before the end of the war.

The village community hears very little about what is happening outside. The children go to school, old men and women, among them 28-year-old Greta and 30-year-old Anni, try to maintain the village economy, younger men are absent.

As it becomes evident that the war is lost, the villagers do not rejoice, but are infected with fear. Normality finally breaks down completely when the children find six
unknown corpses on the riverbank. The inhabitants become increasingly terrified and paranoid about their impending doom as more and more bodies pile up on the riverbank.

The drama reaches its climax when the mayor receives a decree that “the Russians are not to find a single living German”. Whereupon the mayor propagandizes for suicide. The village pastor preaches against it. The villagers are trapped in a strange mixture of despair, fear and hopelessness. A struggle of conscience begins in which everyone wants to do the right thing.


My personal interest was first aroused by my grandmother’s stories, who told me as a child about the mass suicides of the Germans. So far these dead have found no place in history. Years of fear propaganda saw the Germans into all-out panic shortly before the end of the war.

According to official Nazi doctrine, world domination or the end of the world were the only options remaining to Germans. This doctrine was strengthened by the cult of
heroic self-sacrifice and a deep-seated, very twisted concept of duty.

The planned film is an examination of this state of mind and how it was possible to create such a prevailing life-denying mood, which demonstrated not so much the political
macro-level of society at the end of the war, but rather a psychic profile of “non-political” Germans at a turning point in history.

And it makes it clear it is not so much the system and ideology that keeps a society under control, but rather the attitude and behaviour of the people who inhabit it.

A story about a village whose deeply insecure inhabitants fall victim to the propaganda of terror.
Ulrike Tony Vahl

Scriptwriter, Film Director

production notes

original title

produced byCALA Filmproduktion
CALA Filmproduktion GmbH

Boxhagener Str 106
10245, Berlin

current financial need
€ 2.500.000