Five Days, Five Nights

Original title: (Fünf Tage – Fünf Nächte)
GDR/USSR, 1960, 108 min, color
In German; English subtitles

May 8, 1945: WWII is over. Dresden is in ruins. But where are the 2200 paintings by artists such as Rembrandt, Raphael, Rubens, Giorgione, and Vermeer van Delft from the Old Masters Picture Gallery?


Red Army Captain Leonov and his soldiers have been ordered to recover the lost paintings. During the next five days, Dresden's residents join the search for the collection. A secret Nazi document offers a first lead…


This first GDR/USSR coproduction—scored by Dmitri Shostakovich based on his String Quartet No. 8—refers to actual events, as the Red Army undertook to rescue these artworks after WWII.


The film does not address the Soviet decision to confiscate many valuable artworks as reparations. While Raphael’s Sistine Madonna was returned to its East German museum in 1955, many pieces of art remain in Russia to this day.


Five Days, Five Nights—rediscovered and subtitled by the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. in 2012—complements Robert M. Edsel's book The Monuments Men.

Special features:
  • Turn Subtitles On/Off
  • Biographies & Filmographies
  • “Shostakovich and Arnshtam: Five Days, Five Nights,” by Roy Guenther and Peter Rollberg, George Washington University
  • “Stalin’s Trophy Art: Before and After 1945,” by historian Burghard Cisla
  • “Rembrandt and Ruins: The Scenography of Art and Destruction,” by Marcus Becker and Annette Dorgerloh, Humboldt University Berlin
  • “Confessions of a Silent Madonna,” by Hiltrud Schulz, DEFA Film Library

Five Days, Five Nights

Screening Rights: 
Educational Streaming

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