German Film Week at IFI: 4 Days in May

4 Days in May screened on Monday evening continuing the German Film Week at the IFI. The third film by writer/director Achim von Borries, 4 Days in May portrays an extremely odd incident that took place during the final days of World War II. With the end of the war imminent 8 Russian soldiers under the command of Captain Kalmykov (Aleksei Guskov) lie low in a German-run orphan shelter on the Baltic coast. Meanwhile a large troop of war-weary German soldiers arrive on the nearby beach, forcing a stand-off between both sets of soldiers. Yet as events transpire it is not the German soldiers that the Russians end up having problems with.

Von Borries chooses to tell the story from the perspective of a 13-year-old German boy, who gets caught up in the events desperate to prove himself a hero, which allows the director to tell the tale from a non-judgmental standpoint and focus on the events that unfold. Since his debut feature in 2000 England!, von Borries has proved himself to be a director with a strong sense of narrative and a skill for evoking mood. No better than here with 4 Days in May in a beautifully shot climax to events that is stunning in its simplicity and effective in its message.

The film will no doubt have sparked many a political and philosophical debate amongst its German and Russian audiences. Ultimately though, this is a human story and functions as a valuable personal footnote to the larger scale story of war.

With 4 Days in May Von Borries has created a compelling film that challenges preconceptions of what makes soldiers do what they do and opens up perceptions of both sides through the eyes of the other.

The German Fim Week at the IFI continues this evening with the screening Marc Bauder’s thriller The System at 18.50.

Tickets are available from the IFI Box Office on 01 679 3477 or online at

Steven Galvin


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