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The story of a romantic relationship between a grown-up and a child. Set in the Netherlands near the end of WWII, the film is a flashback recalling an adolescent relationship between Jeroen and a Canadian soldier. A difficult subject handled with style and feeling. Written by
A Difficult Subject; A Beautiful, Touching Film; A Problematic Stance
Loosely based on the autobiography of Rudi van Danzi, FOR A LOST SOLIDER tells the story of a Dutch boy's emotional and sexual relationship with a young adult American solider during World War II. The film presents the relationship as a loving and often magical one--and asks the viewer to consider if such relationships are intrinsically abusive or if they might, in extraordinary instances, have validity and even integrity.
It should be very obvious that the subject and issues raised are likely to provoke a knee-jerk reaction in most people--but even so, FOR A LOST SOLDIER has remarkable delicacy. The film is not explotational in any way, it is beautifully acted and filmed, and the difficult material is handled by the director, writer, and cinematographer with considerable grace.
All of this said, however, the film is so careful to avoid the obvious pitfalls that in some respects it fails to make any significant statement. What ultimately emerges is a memory--the film is presented as an extended flashback--but exactly how that memory reverberates in present time is vaguely expressed at best. And while the film does not consider this particular relationship to be deliberately abusive, it begs but never answers the question of intrinsic abusive, leaving the viewer to do battle with that knotty issue entirely on their own.
Those who watch FOR A LOST SOLIDER thoughtfully and with an open mind will find it forces them to define their own ideas about what is and is not abusive. This may actually be point of the film, to motivate an examination of personal values--but if so it is a point made by a very, at times almost impossibly indirect implication. Recommended for sophisticated viewers, but even they are more likely to find it more problematic than substantial.
Gary F. Taylor, aka GFT, Amazon Reviewer
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