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Rabbit à la Berlin (2009)
"Królik po berlinsku" (original title)

7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 433 users  
Reviews: 1 user | 6 critic

The untold story about wild rabbits which lived between the Berlin Walls.

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Title: Rabbit à la Berlin (2009)

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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The untold story about wild rabbits which lived between the Berlin Walls. For 28 years Death Zone was their safest home. Full of grass, no predators, guards protecting them from human disturbance. They were closed but happy. When their population grew up to thousands, guards started to remove them. But rabbits survived and stayed there. Unfortunately one day the wall fell down. Rabbits had to abandon comfortable system. They moved to West Berlin and have been living there in a few colonies since then. They are still learning how to live in the free world, same as we - the citizens of Eastern Europe. Written by Bartek Konopka & Piotr Rosolowski

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4 December 2009 (Poland)  »

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Królik po berlinsku  »

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Featured in The 82nd Annual Academy Awards (2010) See more »

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A bold cinematic proposal and felicitous surprise
16 March 2010 | by See all my reviews

Few times has somebody the chance of watching a movie that combines a symbol of the Cold War, the Berlin Wall and the lovable rabbits. In order to avoid misunderstandings, I clarify that I reffer to the animals and not to Playboy Bunnies, as some more naughty may have thought.

With those paradoxical facts in mind I walked in Goethe Institute of the city of Athens, where the movie was to be played and heard the illuminating introductory speeches, that of Kostas Spyropoulos-president of StoryDoc(www.StoryDoc.gr) among them. Nevertheless, the paradox persisted:how could such a "serious" issue, as the Berlin Wall, be combined with rabbits? The invitation to the movie had the picture of a rabbit, excluding thus the possibility that the documentary was hinting to an earlier form of what we now would call trafficking-the transfer of poor eastern girls to satiate the depraved tastes of rich westerners in the form of sexy bunnies.

The narrative of the rabbit adventure, encircled by the Berlin Wall, was accompanied by interviews of experts, soldiers and simple witnesses, following the precepts of docudrama. Early, the spectators were to discover that the whole story was an allegory and a metaphor concerning the residents of Eastern Berlin. The movie though was very discreet, never betraying the obvious parallel but portraying with seriousness and detachment the habits, practices, sexual behaviour and social prospects of rabbits, as witnessed by experts, soldiers and simple folk.

In a masterly manner the sense of detachment is sustained and one is lead to wonder whether the film intended really to describe rabbits and not the social condition of Eastern Berliners. It uses this admirable devise, that has possibly to be revealed, so as not to discourage prospective viewers.

The ups and downs of life, that is the change from tolerance to persecution from the side of the governing party is reliably portrayed, while footage from the state visits of Heads of State(some still alive as Fidel Castro) of the Soviet-allied world is displayed, symbolically as attempts to learn and supervise the progress and development of the rabbit colony in Eastern Berlin.

The life-cycle of a whole world is rendered alive by the film, depicting the development of a self-sufficient political, moral and biological cosmos, from it's formation to it's end and total transformation. The film juxtaposes stability and monotony with the challenges and dangers of the new, leaving the spectator to reach his own conclusions of what was really best for the rabbits(e.g. Eastern Germans) without claiming that it has a ready-made answer. The director becomes the Herodotus of the rabbit world having in his disposal modern technical means.

The idea of using animals as moral exempla, from which to draw conclusions for human social values and organization is not new. It known to modern Greeks through the myths of Aesop, to Europeans in general from the stories of Lafontain and to the Anglo-American world, in a more modern form, though George Orwell's political parable(adapted for the cinema) "Animal Farm". It has been also used in comics, through the depiction of the victims of the Holocaust as mice, presumably to make explicit the point of view of their exterminators. All of the above in no way diminish the flair and appeal of this brilliantly conceived and executed film.


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