|Directed by Volker Schlondorff|
It helps to base your film, as this one was, on a successful dramatic play. But look at how this film was made: one old tank, most of the story shot in one hotel room, a handful of interiors/exteriors shot very tight, panoramic shots over the rooftops of Paris (so modern cars and the McDonalds signs don't show), army uniforms and period clothing for civilians, and (inexpensive if not completely free) archival WWII clips. No budget-busting CGI that I could detect. No cast of hundreds (we don't do thousands anymore). "War" is conveyed with smoke, lights, and sound effects, and the audience buys it.
So, how do you tackle a genre film on a small budget? Focus the plot on the personal. Not the cattlemen's range war but the individual rebelling against a changing world. Not the Battle of the Bulge but the faceoff between two strong personalities and a critical decision that could change the course of history. It can be done, and done well. Films like this one prove it.