Frenchman Abel Tiffauges likes children, and wants to protect them against the grown-ups. Falsely suspected as child molester, he's recruited as a soldier in the 2nd World War, but very ... See full summary »
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Margarethe von Trotta
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Frenchman Abel Tiffauges likes children, and wants to protect them against the grown-ups. Falsely suspected as child molester, he's recruited as a soldier in the 2nd World War, but very soon he is taken prisoner of war. After shortly serving in Goerings hunting lodge, he becomes the dogsbody in Kaltenborn Castle, an elite training camp for German boys. Completely happy to take care of these children, he becomes a servant of Nazism, catching boys from the area as supplies for the camp. Written by
Frank Wallner <email@example.com>
Prior to the school fire, a caption says "Paris 1925". Upon his arrest as an adult, Abel, through his narration, remembers the fire as having happened "twenty years ago". This would place his adult scenes in 1945, but when he joins the French army after his arrest it is before the German occupation of Paris which would place his arrest in 1940. However, Abel is slow-witted and possibly does not have an accurate sense of time. See more »
Brightness is not a characteristic of the German race. We don't want brightness! People say, "Oh, so-and-so is so bright, he has such a clear mind!" No. We mistrust this brightness, this clarity. Let the new African races cultivate brightness. Our sources are in darkness. That is what drives us to unparalleled creativity.
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John Malkovich is doing a fine role here, as expected, and the movie depicts Europe around 1940 from the viewpoint of an emotionally challenged French orphan. You might have thought from the plot that it is about pedophiles or something similar. It is not. This guy moves from "prison" to prison, while happily doing the work assigned to him, all the time seeing the world as no one sees it. All his good deeds result in punishments and all his bad deeds make almost no impression on him. He perseveres in both.
The movie is spanning a few years of time and the rhythm is slow, as one would expect from a film made from a book, and, while a little boring and depressing, it is a nice movie.
Bottom line: imagine Forrest Gump in Europe. No humour, no hope, no cares in the world. Oh, except the war. ;)
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