A few years ago, a friend got from one of his other friends a video with the Michael Mann film 'Heat' on it. After we finished that movie, and were about to stand up, we saw that there is another film just after, tough on the cassette's envelope the owner didn't write it up. Yet we were all glued back to our seats by its distinct opening, which lacked credits.
Some two hours later, I just sat there wondering: how could I not have heard of this masterpiece before?...
This film was Europa. Lars von Trier woke film noir from the dead, deconstructed reality with intentionally obvious sets, yet often there was haunting similarity with post-war German photographs I saw. And then the tricky cuts!
The story itself is a hard-to-take moral odyssey that has no happy end. A young American pacifist of German descent comes to post-war Germany, intent on doing some good to pay for the bombs his countrymen dropped. But he mostly meets distrust and self-destructive defiance. He hires with Zentropa, a dining-and-sleeping-car company (modeled on Mitropa), whose owner is one of the Nazi collaborators the Occupiers whitewash. Our hero falls in love with his daughter - who later turns out to be a member of the Werewolf, Nazi post-war terrorists. When he doesn't understand the world (or just Europeans) anymore, in his rage he blows up a railroad bridge under a train which he just saved.
As a final note, for historical correctness: in the real world, the Werewolf were nowhere as important as the film implies, they were mostly a final Nazi propaganda coup. After an SS unit assassinated the major of Allied-occupied Aachen, two months before the capitulation, the Nazis announced the creation of whole legions of saboteurs and terrorists who will be ready to fight behind the lines, the Werewolf. But only a few hundred of mostly Hitler Youth received some training, and while two or three times some were deployed to murder suspected communists or forced-labourer foreigners in Bavarian villages to imprint lasting fear on inhabitants, with Hitler's death and the war's end it all fell apart.
However, the Werewolf propaganda had a profound effect on the occupiers. They feared the Werewolf everywhere, suspected it behind any serious accident - but without exception another cause was found later (ignored by some recent pseudo-historians). For example, when a gas main exploded in the police HQ of bombed-out Bremen, or when the Soviet military commander died in a motorbike accident in Berlin. The effect was strongest on the Soviets, who arrested tens of thousands (in large part children!) 'preemptively' on suspicion of being Werewolf, and closed them off in prison camps where a lot of them died.