Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
Germany/France/Poland, 1990. Bayerischer Rundfunk, Filmförderungsanstalt, The Senate of Berlin, Sofima, Ministère de la Culture, Centre National du Cinéma et de L’image Animée, Central Cinema Company Film, Les Films du Losange, Telmar Film International Ltd., Zespol Filmowy “Perspektywa”. Screenplay by Agnieszka Holland, additional material by Paul Hengge, based on the book by Solomon Perel. Cinematography by Jacek Petrycki. Produced by Artur Brauner, Margaret Menegoz. Music by Zbigniew Preisner. Production Design by Allan Starski. Costume Design by Wieslawa Starska, Malgorzata Stefaniak. Film Editing by Isabelle Lorente, Ewa Smal. Academy Awards 1990. Boston Film Critics Awards 1991. Golden Globe Awards 1990. National Board of Review Awards 1991. New York Film Critics Awards 1991.
The improbabilities of this film are further proof that life truly is stranger than fiction. Based on the memoirs of Solomon Perel, this powerful drama tells of a young Jewish boy (Marco Hofschneider) who manages to survive the Nazi occupation of Germany by pretending to be a Nazi himself. Separated from his family early in the war, Perel posed as a German war orphan and got himself accepted into the Hitlerjunge program, the Nazi youths who were seen as Germany’s future hope for world domination. His eventual survival of the entire war is a miracle of circumstances and blind luck, and the story is extremely well put together by Agnieszka Holland (directing and writing from Perel’s own memoirs). Not to be mixed up with Lars von Trier’s Europa, which is also known as Zentropa.