Film Analysis: Das Boot

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Das Boot is a 1981 German film written and directed by Wolfgang Peterson. The film is set during World War II and is told from the viewpoint of Lieutenant Werner, a war correspondent assigned to write about the German submarine U-96. After a night of revelry in German-occupied France, the crew sets sail out of the harbor of La Rochelle to a cheering crowd. After weeks of what must have felt like aimless cruising around the Atlantic, an enemy convoy is discovered but a British destroyer bombards the submarine with depth charges and the men of the U-96 tumble and crash into each other. A relentless storm keeps the boat underwater for weeks and when it finally surfaces the boat encounters a British convoy and quickly attack by firing torpedoes.…show more content…
Cinematographer Jost Vacano shot the film by strategically maneuvering through the ten-foot-wide submarine with a handheld camera. Vocano and his camera run throughout the boat, ducking under light fixtures, and jumping over obstacles in his way. This method of recording makes viewers feel like they are trapped in the submarine with the rest of the crew. When destroyers attacked the U-96, Das Boot included shots of what most of the crew was doing. There is no better way of explaining it, Peterson and Vocano makes the viewer feel like they are experiencing everything with the crew of the U-96. It impossible to watch without empathizing with the men on board. The almost documentary-like shooting of the film is augmented by the use of cinematic audio. The sounds of the ocean underwater, the haunting sounds of the sonar, the sound of steel crushing and bolts bursting from the water pressure, are only a few examples of sound utilized in Das Boot that put the viewer as close as they can get to naval warfare without actually being involved in it. A supposedly legendary captain by the name of Thomsen remarks in the beginning of the film that the young enlisted recruits have the "belief in our Fuhrer in their eyes” and then says "they will know in time." At the beginning of the film, there is a written prologue stating that, out of the 40,000 men who served on the U-boats, only 10,000 made it back
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