Anyone who lived in the early 1940s Europe would tell you their version of the horrific story. Many people fought for their survival each day, every minute. That's when they all would have thought the paradise (earth) turned into hell. This was adapted from the recent book of the same name, which was originally based on the real about an eight year old Jewish boy. You could say it is the kid version of 'The Pianist' or exactly opposite of 'The Diary of Anne Frank' as if Anne did not take shelter, she would have done something like. Very emotional film from the very first scene to the last. They have produced some of the finest World War II films in the recent time, but I haven't felt like I did for this. Totally heartbroken!
The saddest part is this film was underrated and under-noticed despite it was released just a couple of years ago. The reason might be, it was not a big production house film or internationally recognisable actors in it. Though I recognised a couple of German, Polish actors who were on the small roles. It was jointly produced by Poland, Germany and France, but should have been in the English language for the wider audience reach. Anyway, being true, including languages, which were multiple and locations would always give a perfect depiction of the event and I liked it that way. It was also good to see the Russians are not the bad guys or the roughest- toughest one we'd seen in other WWII films.
The opening was very strong. We won't know what's going on like who is this kid, where he'd come from and heading to, but surely understandable the boy is fighting for survival against the odds. Soon a small flashback of his recent past shown, but nothing deeper beyond like his home and parents were revealed. In the ending, there's a little information about that which will get you emotionally for sure. He was very young to understand all this, yet developed a survival skill. Like they say, 'all is fair in love and war', he wasn't a warrior, but what he did has to be done and it was impressive for that age. Some people helped him through, though some did not. It's all about running, running, running, like a herbivorous in the wild, not knowing when he'll become a prey to a predator.
❝Keep moving. To the east, where the sun rises.❞
The journey of three years of his life was like eternal. He has to sacrifice many things, including his innocent childhood that war had no mercy on it. In one of the scenes where he seriously met with an accident, I was unable to bear it. In a film, it's all compressed for just two hours of what took years in the real life. Only Yoran Fridman knows his real experience. He can be seen in the final scene of the film. This was like a coming-of-age, but no kids should go through it.
I know it was only a film version, but that smile, that sobbing, that fear and that strategy of survival in that age, you will lose yourself in your watch. But the entire film was only the war portion of his story. There's no earlier event, like with his parents or the post war, except at the end it skipped too far for a brief detail as any film does in that section.
It was a fine casting. The kid in the lead was in fact played by the twin brothers. I think they switched and performed well the role they have represented. It was a great screenplay and direction. Wonderful locations, especially creating those war like atmosphere. A fitting background score, it was a perfect film that brought back to us on the screen of the 75 years ago Poland when the Nazis army roamed. But I had zero idea of the film, not even knew it was a war film. It was a last minute decision to check it out and I made the right one. Like this way I'd found many hidden gems, that's what I love to do and spread the word.
Films like this usually have more unpleasant events. But involving a kid in such circumstances were even more painful to watch if you are a light hearted. Though a film like this should not be missed. This is a must watch film among WWII themes. I don't think so, I would forget everything I just saw in this film, not for anytime soon and I definitely recommend it to those who are seeking a title, but not sure which one to opt. Mainstream world should know this film and I hope my this review contributes a little for that. So, go guys go, watch it now if you haven't.
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