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In My Defence: Neither Prisoner Nor Chains

Time Out, 10th-17th July 1991

Tonight’s talking head with the shining heart belongs to Franz Jagerstatter, who was beheaded in 1943 for refusing to fight with the Nazis. We see him in his cell as he prepares for execution and explains to his family why he rejected compromise. The conclusion he comes to is that if one has to die, it might as well be for a good cause than for Nazism. Michael Pennington puts in a powerful performance as the persecuted man with passionate convictions. There are problems however. The most notable is that the action is frozen from time to time so that a disembodied voice can fill in biographical details. This not only creates a curious hiatus but, even worse, it disrupts the intimacy of the relationship between the monologist and his audience.

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