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Alex is an 11-year old boy who, during WWII, hides in the Jewish ghetto from Nazis after all the relatives have been sent to the concentration camp. The movie portrays the ghetto through his eyes. Written by
One boy's story of indomitable courage -- one terrific performance by a young actor
Director Soren Kragh-Jacobsen sure picked his young protagonist well -- Jordan Kiziuk as Alex in the Danish film "The Island on Bird Street" practically carried the film by his undeniably superb performance. The film is about a Jewish young boy, bordering teens, his survival "adventure" in Poland during Nazi occupation.
How heartwarming can an uneasy wartime premise be? It actually achieves beyond "Jakob the Liar" -- Alex's courage, his creative ways in taking care of himself when he's all alone, his tenacity and steadfast belief that his Dad would come back for him hold its own. And there is suspense: we fear for him, we want him to succeed, we pain, and we felt angst and joy with him. The set of his hide-out is somehow graphically appealing: a solitary, broken brick wall arrangement, with atmospheric lighting, and momentary interludes: a solitary dog on a street, paper off the ground dancing in the wind
Music is by Zbigniew Preisner (Krzysztof Kieslowski's "Trois couleurs: Bleu" 1993, "Rouge" 1994, "The Double Life of Veronique" 1991, also "Fairy Tale: A True Story" 1997), hauntingly complements the plot. This may not be of Hollywood stature likened to "The Schindler's List", yet it's a small film with powerful impressions. It's a life-affirming story. Alex hanged on to hope -- we can, too.
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