There are those moments in life where we get to see the full depths of human cruelty and few moments have exemplified it more than the Holocaust. It was a moment where human depravity was industrialised and weaponised in the endeavour to exterminate an entire race. Today we explore a film that deals with the aftermath and trauma through the eyes of the children that survived it.
So to set the scene, we open in on a bus full of children as they make their way through the British countryside at night. The bus is full of children refugees rescued from Holocaust camps. One thousand children brought from the camps to Brittan and 300 of them came to Calgarth Estate on the shores of Lake Windermere. As they arrive, there is a real fear that they have swapped one camp of despair for another. Their families are likely all dead, and all of them have suffered travesties that make every dog a threat and food something you hide when you can. They only have funding for four months to help them with their trauma, which is not enough time given everything they had gone through.
TL;DR – A very ambitious film and while it does not quite reach the lofty goals it sets for itself, I give it credit for trying when so many others don’t bother.
Score – 4 out of 5 stars
Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene
I have seen films that have embraced absurdism before, I have seen films that have explored World War Two before, I have never seen an absurdist film about World War Two before, well that is until today. This is a film that honestly I would have loved to be in the pitch meeting for because I have no idea how the hell it got greenlit even though I am glad that it did.
So to set the scene, in the midst of WW2 and living in Nazi Germany we find a young boy called Johannes “Jojo” Betzler (Roman Griffin Davis). In the aftermath of his sister dying and his father being away “fighting on the Italian front”, he spends his days at a Deutsches Jungvolk Hitler Youth training camp with his friend Yorki (Archie Yates) run by a very nonplussed Wehrmacht Captain Klenzendorf (Sam Rockwell). When recovering from an accident involving a grenade Jojo discovers that his mother Rosie (Scarlett Johansson) has been hiding a Jewish girl called Elsa (Thomasin McKenzie) in their attic, which brings Jojo into a moral quandary not helped by the suggestions from his good friend Hitler (Taika Waititi).
TL;DR – A harrowing look at a moment in our past that we need to deal with if we want to avoid repeating our mistakes.
Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars
This year after watching the simply amazing Okja (review) and Train to Busan, a film that redefines a genre and one I really need to write something on, I decided to try and get out and see more Korean cinema. Now, unfortunately, it can be a bit difficult to find here in Australia, but thankfully a cinema near me does get some of the new releases from Asia from time to time. So today I continued my exploration of Korean cinema with the fascinating The Battleship Island. So what is the film about? Well how far would you go to protect your daughter from the world around her, what would you do break a revolutionary leader out prison, how far would you go to exploit the people under you to make a quick buck? These are some of the questions The Battleship Island tries to answer.