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|Index||19 reviews in total|
Moving, beautifully crafted, unbelievable performances, direct, poetic, raw. I was so moved by this film, I find it hard to compose complete sentences to describe it. This movie touched and inspired every cell in my body. The acting by the entire cast was precise and authentic. How were they able to compile this cast? How did they manage to extract these performances? The writing is intelligent, sensitive, moving and direct. This is a rare script. Each scene in this movie required such an investment by the entire film crew to reach its rare authenticity. The courage it would take to produce this film escapes me. While the result deserves the highest awards, this is not a film that was made for the sake of popularity. This film feels like a labor of love and the result of the truest of intentions. My hat is off to anyone who participated in this film.
This week Jews and others around the world celebrated Yom Hashoah,
Holocaust Remembrance Day, observed every year since 1959 to "never
forget" the murder of six million Jews during World War II. Loosely
based on a novel of the same name by Canadian author Anne Michaels,
Fugitive Pieces by Jeremy Podeswa whose father was a Holocaust
survivor, touches on an often-overlooked aspect of the tragedy, that
those who have managed to survive deep trauma may be unable to rid
themselves of their obsessions. The film spans a period of roughly 35
years, beginning in 1942 and concluding in the late 1970, going back
and forth in time between the events of childhood and present time. Set
in Biskupin, Poland during World War II, seven-year old Jakob Beer
(Robbie Kay) witnesses the murder of his parents and the abduction of
his beloved sister Bella by German soldiers.
Disregarding Bella's instructions to remain at home, Jakob runs away. Hiding in the forest, he plants himself into the ground "like a turnip", hiding his face with leaves until he is discovered by Athos Roussos (Rade Serbedzija), a warm hearted Zorba-like Greek archaeologist on a dig. Athos brings the traumatized boy to his home on the sun-drenched island of Zakynthos in Greece where they live through the Nazi occupation, suffering deprivation but surviving the atrocities that befall Greece's Jewish community. The relationship between Jakob and Athos is slow to develop but they eventually form a bond. "I will be your koumbaros, your godfather," Athos says. "We must carry each other. If we don't have this, what are we?" After the war, Athos receives a teaching position in Canada and they move there hoping to forget the past. Jakob, now played as an adult by Stephen Dillane, has neighbors who are also Jewish immigrants and he develops a close relationship with Ben (Ed Stoppard) who he watches grow into a gifted writer. Though Jakob has become a successful writer in Canada himself, his marriage to the lovely Alex (Rosamund Pike) is threatened by haunting memories of Bella and his obsession with the Holocaust. Her vivacity and joy for life is in sharp contrast to his solemnity and he "longs for the loss of memory", and writes about his wife's "shameless vitality" saying, "To live with ghosts requires solitude".
After their breakup, Jakob falls in love with Micheala (Israeli actress Ayelet Zurer), a scholar twenty-five years his junior, and her charm and intelligence allows him to venture out of his shell. Fugitive Pieces is a quiet and sensitive film that has a touching poetic quality and Robbie Kay turns in one of the best child performances I have seen in years. Though the film often becomes too literary and does not soar dramatically, its message is strong - that though we should never forget a tragedy, there may be a steep price for remembering.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is a beautiful well crafted movie. I was struck by how the movie
doesn't fill in the blanks for you, but gives you a chance to imagine
what the characters are feeling and thinking. The cinematography is
exquisite, contrasting the light of the scenes in Greece with the
darkness of the scenes where the young Jakob is escaping from the
Nazis. One quote from the movie is that "it is not extraordinary that
wood can burn, but that it can float". You don't have to be a
descendant of a Holocaust victim to appreciate the very strong message
delivered by the movie, that you can either be consumed with the fire
of your past life's horrors or allow yourself to float and survive and
I won a pair of tickets to this film, not knowing much about it - what
a lucky win it turned out to be.
War is a terrible thing and often tortures the remaining years for its survivors. For a child, of course, war's awful memories impact without the luxury of maturity and this story is but one among millions. But the story is told well and says something good about the human condition.
The film is beautifully shot and the locations are a treat for the eyes. The actors are each plausible in their roles and perform well. The story is very moving - take some tissues! Perhaps a little slow moving for some and perhaps a touch too long, it is nevertheless a very good film.
We had no idea in advance of this movie...but we were overwhelmed totally. To us, it is an Academy Award Nominee to say the least. Rarely does a picture such as this, is able to move anyone emotionally as well as creating love and inspiration about the human soul. We will not go into the contents of the film...but if you do not see it, you would be missing something in your life. It's that good. I do not understand why it has not been shown in larger movie venues. We saw this in a small theater, similar to an art film setting. Go run ..give yourself a lift in life experience and see this film. We can't wait till it's on a DVD so we can buy it and enjoy it again.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A very moving and thoughtful film and it does so on a very personal
level by examining the experience of a young boy. The film flips back
and forth from his war experience to his after-war life in Canada.
It deals well with the trauma brought on by war in this case the Holocaust. This young boy lost his parents and sister to the Nazis. He is forever tormented of what became of his sister who he last saw being forcefully dragged away by the German tormentors. It does make one wonder at the brutality of a people who kill needlessly and never imagine the lifelong suffering that they cause. This is the strength of this movie. This evil is countered by the generosity of his Greek mentor who became his life-long adopted father.
As mentioned the film shifts back and forth between the war years and his time in Canada. The periods when he was a young boy are the most engaging parts of the movie. There are times during the Canadian sequences where the film becomes somewhat mundane. The time spent with his first girl-friend is so superficial (the actress is simply eye-candy) that the movie almost loses course and becomes banal.
Also some of the sequences when he returns to Greece are almost an advertisement for a beautiful vacation. The settings are so luxurious that they start to detract from the main message of the movie.
Also at times the film becomes a little too 'wordy' there are too many quotations from passages of a book.
Nevertheless this is overall a powerful movie.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Firstly, absolutely loved the film, just felt I had to respond to the numerous comments regarding the alternative ending. Having researched it(could not find info on the original ending on IMDb -nor had I read the book) I felt that leaving us (the audience) with Jacob finding solace after such a traumatic experience, finally being able to love, fathering a child, finally being able to lay his sister to "rest" left me feeling some happiness after what was, generally, a very sad film, a better way to end than (as the original suggested) Jacob lying dead after a car accident. A moving tale, brilliantly acted & directed, and all the better for the (much needed) alternative ending.
Wonderful film not be missed. All the characters are very well
developed, and portrayed with sensitivity. People with a troubled past
will identify with the protagonists soul searching journey, especially
if you have been affected by the holocaust. The musical score just
serves to tighten that chocking feeling as the viewer attempts to
suppress tears. The cinematography is masterful in capturing some of
the most beautiful sea side scenes available in Mediterranean Europe
The writer protagonist (Stephen Dillane) is well experienced playing introspective roles, as he also played the husband of Virginia Wolf (Nicole Kidman) in "The Hours."
Jakob Beer (Stephen Dillane) and Alex (Rosamund Pike) seem to be a
happy Toronto couple but Alex finds his journal where he fears losing
his identity to Alex. He is haunted by his past and they split up. His
Polish family was destroyed by the Nazis and his sister Bella (Nina
Dobrev) was taken by them. Jakob (Robbie Kay) was rescued by Greek
archaeologist Athos Roussos (Rade erbedija). In Greece, they fear the
occupying Nazis and escape to Canada. In Toronto, they befriend their
Jewish neighbors who escaped from Warsaw.
This is a gentle telling of a horrifying tale. The adult Jakob is fine but it is the chemistry between Rade and the younger Jakob that is so touching. Rade is so powerful and the kid is so fragile. The movie does miss Rade when he's gone. However, it doesn't mean Jakob's later relationship isn't just as compelling. There is a dreamy, gentle tone throughout.
The film tells the story of a Polish man, Jakob, who was orphaned
during the 2nd World War and saved by a Greek archaeologist. His
saviour smuggles him out of Poland to Greece and relative safety. After
the war they move to Canada and Jakob reflects on his life, writing
about his traumatic childhood, the memories of which still haunt him.
His troubled emotions lead to the break up of his marriage and he moves
on with the intent of coming to terms with his past.
Towards the end of the film the story does perhaps get a little too profound and the ultimate resolution is a bit too neat and tidy to be believable. However, it's a great story.
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