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THE GOOD GERMAN

About The Production
V-E Day, May 8, 1945, marked the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany and the end of the war in Europe. By June, the Allies began the job of dividing Germany and Berlin into zones of military occupation: American, Russian, British and French.

Ostensibly, they were there to keep the peace, restore vital services like food and fuel, and maintain law and order, much of which they legitimately accomplished. But they were also looking after their own interests in ways that would never make the papers back home.

"Everyone in this story—whether representing themselves and their own lives or representing institutions or governments—is not speaking directly about what they want and is hoping they can achieve their goals without ever having to tell the whole truth,” says director Steven Soderbergh. "It's about hypocrisy and denial. It's human nature and the inevitable outgrowth of any post-war environment. That's something that has always been with us and always will be. Set in a super-heated situation, these issues can mean life or death.”

War correspondent Jake Geismer has returned to Berlin to cover the Potsdam Peace Conference, where Allied leaders will meet to finalize details of disarming Germany and restructuring its government and economy. He is shocked to see the utter destruction of this once-beautiful city.

Jake is further shocked to see his former lover, Lena, keeping company with his motorpool driver, Corporal Tully—a soulless, small-time racketeer exploiting anything and anyone to his advantage on the black market, and to whom Lena is little more than another commodity.

Whoever Jake was before the war, by 1945 he has become, says George Clooney, "a bitter guy. Where he once had ambition and passion, he's been disillusioned by the war and his experiences and has become a cynic. The one thing he still remembers as a shining moment in his life was his relationship with Lena, but when he runs into her again, things are very different for both of them.”

Describing that moment, Cate Blanchett, who stars as Lena, says, "The fact that she's there and he suddenly sweeps in, the fact that she's even still alive and the suddenness of their reunion, is a very romantic concept, but in Steven's hands, it gets a rawer treatment. It's a love story but set against a very harsh and gritty backdrop. Seeing Jake reminds Lena of who she used to be, how she used to feel and the fact that she used to have a sense of morality, and that's unbearable to her now.”

"These are two people who clearly care about each other, and it's played in an understated way that makes us wonder exactly what that relationship once was and what it might have been,” suggests producer Gregory Jacobs. "But it's a complicated world and a complicated time, and I think real life intercedes.”

There is another reason Lena prefers to keep her distance. "Everyone in this film has a hidden agenda, often deeply hidden from themselves,” says Blanchett. "Living under The Third Reich cured people of forming hasty confidences. You didn't ask intimate questions and you didn't tell anyone anything; you always assumed the person you were talking to could betray you. Lena knows Jake is like a bloodhound when he's on a scent. Whatever she is doing now, with or without Tully, Jake's presence can only complicate things.”

Tully has his own problems. Following a violent confrontation with Jake, the would-be entrepreneur gets himself killed… in the wrong military zone, his pockets stuffed with cash. "That in itself is not surprising, as Tully's lifestyle makes him an accident waiting to happen,” notes Tobey Maguire, "but what Jake cannot fathom is why the American and Russian authorities are so eager to sweep it under the carpet.”

A conversation with the city's interim military governor, Colonel Muller (Beau Bri

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