DIRECTOR: AGNIESZKA HOLLAND
COUNTRY: POLAND/GERMANY/FRANCE (1991)
MUSIC: ZBIGNIEW PREISNER
CAST: MARCO HOFSCHNEIDER, ANDRE WILMS, ASHLEY WANNINGER, KLAUS ABRAMOWSKY, MICHELE GLEIZER
SUPER FEATURES: TRUE STORY OF SOLOMON PEREL, A GERMAN JEW.
Europe, and it is something that very few Americans really relate to, has been terribly damaged from the World Wars. Not only were countries totally decimated, so were complete family trees, specially the one relating to the Jewish faith.
In the past fifty years, many films have depicted this destruction, and the human suffering which it had caused. Be it an Italian film like THE
BICYCLE THIEF, or later, the Polish film KNIFE IN THE WATER, and the ability of many film makers to begin expressing themselves through the film medium, the main theme was always someone's incredible journey of survival against some incredible odds. Aside from the more unusual films about the war, like the German film THE TIN DRUM, almost all of them, stand up for the defense of the faith, indeed any faith, that was oppressed.
Today, there are some people who lived in those days as youngsters, and some of them, have finally out lived their fears, to be able to tell a horrific story, and while they still have a sense of religious piety, they more often than not have yet, a larger sense of self, than most.
Solomon Perel, was just such a person, who basically along the way, got a bit lucky, and was able to survive because he went to a few schools and learned a language or two, which as it turns out, was his saving grace. The struggle for survival takes many turns. But as almost all of them around him fall by wayside (they all display an over emotional response, by the way) he manages to hold his head together long enough to keep himself alive until the war ends, or his freedom, if he can find a way. Solomon Perel was luckier than most, he escaped to Palestine, and now lives in Israel.
This film is more about the indoctrination of the younger ones, than it is about anything else. The Germans spent a lot of effort educating their
future generation of Aryans to rule the world. And the Russians spent a lot of time convincing many that their atheistic view point was more valid than the opposing view point. And of course, the Jews in the film, merely remain faithful to their creed, imposing some rules on the young (no different there), but at least, it is on a more acceptable mode. Except for one thing which the young man has to hide during his youth, and is a bit of a problem in the German schools. He is circumcised, and it came close to costing him his life.
The film moves along very well, and is not predictable at all, which is very similar, I'm sure to what the young Solomon had to go through. It
doesn't have boring moments, and even includes some flights of fancy by the young man, who has a bit if a sense of humor, even if subtle.
A FILM FOR CONSCIENTIOUS VIEWERS AND NOT REALLY ENTERTAINMENT.
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