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State of Wonder (1984)

| Drama
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Cast overview:
Nigel Court ...
Pichirica
David Meyer ...
Captain Benson
Tony Meyer ...
Jesus
James Telfer ...
Russell
Annie Chaplin ...
Dana
...
Father Daniel
Anja Schüte ...
Michael Halphie ...
Zoltan
David Capri ...
Constable Foster
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A Prophetic, Wonderous Wonder
23 December 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

It won the people's choice at the 1984 Berlin Festival, Panorama section. Shortly after, it vanished into thin air. It tells the story of a young man (Nigel Court) in a small village, anywhere in the world. There is something willful and strange about the boy. Autistic, perhaps, we don't really know, but we certainly never met anyone like him. He never knew his parents, raised by the local parish priest (the director, Martin Donovan, himself)The village is a fairy tale village. An extended, harmonious family. Until one day, a small military platoon headed by a mysterious Captain (David Meyer)arrives to the village with a mission. From that moment on, the tone of the film changes. Soon after, we discover the platoon is there waiting for a group of rebel freedom fighters headed by an outlaw leader (Tony Meyer, David's twin brother) The captain, after finding out that the young boy lives alone in the mountains, tries to convince him to stay in the village until the danger is over. But the boy doesn't understand the concept of danger. The scene between the two could be an allegorical piece, staging an imaginary encounter between a pacifist and George W Bush before attacking Irak. But State of Wonder was made in 1983. The freedom fighters call themselves the WFP the War for Peace Movement. He will become the go-between for the two confronting groups trying to avoid a bloody conflict. At the end innocence will pay the heaviest price, but even then, Martin Donovan doesn't allow that death to be in vain. Shot in 13 days in Ireland. It looks like a naive painting. The story is told from the boy's point of view, as a child would have told it, with a child's voice and and language. Unique.I looked for it everywhere, I found old, glowing reviews in some European publications, and a disastrous Variety review. The question is, the film is not available anywhere. If I know so much about it is because I met Martin Donovan, the writer, director, many years ago. I was a fan of "Apartment Zero" "Mad at the Moon" and "Seeds of Tragedy" but it was by chance, reading a reference book, that I found out about the existence of "State of Wonder" I was a bit surprised he had never mentioned it, let alone anyone else. I felt, perhaps,it was, you know, bad. But one day I asked him. He smiled and said, "if you want to see it, there is a tape somewhere, a copy of of a copy, the sound's not very good" You may have guessed I wasn't prepared for what I was about to see. I wept, I laughed and then I wept again. The film has never left me. The central character's nick name is Pichirica. I've only recently found out, Pichirica was the nick name of one Martin Donovan's younger brothers who died some time before he made the film. Personal, honest, visionary. Maybe that's it, "State of Wonder" reveals the heart and soul of its maker. I know. abelardo64@yahoo.com


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