'Nasty Girl' is offbeat look at a pursuit of Nazi history

April 19, 1991|By Lou Cedrone | Lou Cedrone,Evening Sun Staff

''Nasty Girl,'' one of the Oscar nominations for best foreign film of the year, is an interesting mix of matter and method.

The film, done in Germany by Michael Verhoeven (he wrote and directed), takes an almost frivolous look at a fictional German village whose inhabitants include a young girl who would like to know what the townspeople did before and during World War II. Did any of them contribute to the ''final solution?''

Sonja (Lena Stolze) has entered and won an essay contest that has allowed her to visit Paris. When another contest is arranged, she wants to enter that, too. She is given several options. One is not likely to cause any trouble. The other is. Sonja's subject: ''My Hometown During the Third Reich.''

Most of the film takes place during the late '70s, so some of the people who were living at the time are still around. Trouble is, they don't want to see any of those old stories revived. One is particularly embarrassing because two of the town's leading citizens were involved. Both swore that a Jewish shop owner had hypnotized them and sold them items they didn't need. The shopkeeper eventually died in one of the country's death camps, so the entire town would rather that the facts be buried, forever.

Our heroine, however, persists, and though most of the townspeople try to discourage her, among them, the mayor and the director of the local library, she manages to outsmart all of them and get the information.

She writes a book, and for a time all is forgiven. Then, when the town leaders unveil a bust in her honor, she surprises all those present with her behavior.

Stolze plays the spirited and dauntless Sonja from teen years on. Robert Giggenbach is her teacher, the man she marries.

They and the others are very capable players, and this is an interesting, off-beat film whose only false note is the ending. Verhoeven's method leads us to expect a more positive denouement.

''The Nasty Girl,'' loosely based on the experiences of Anja Elisabeth Rosmus, opens today at the Charles. There are subtitles.

''The Nasty Girl''

** A girl, curious about events that took place in her home town

during World War II, is thwarted when she attempts research on the subject.

CAST: Lena Stolze, Monika Baumgartner, Michael Gahr, Robert Giggenbach

DIRECTOR: Michael Verhoeven

RUNNING TIME: 90 minutes

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