Wunderkinder (M)(100 min)
Directed by Marcus Rosenmuller.
Starring Imogen Burrell, Elin Kolev, Konstantin Wecker.
Wunderkinder tells the story of three young children living in the Ukraine in 1941. Their town is only miles away from the front line between Stalin and Hitler. Two of the children are Jewish, one is German. Their bond is music. One of the children will face persecution from the Russians, as Hitler's bombs reign down. But only a few months later, when the Russian troops have left, it will be the two Jewish children who must hide. On the children's friendship, resourcefulness, and musical ability, rests their fate, and the fate of their families. It should work. It should have engrossed me and moved me. But no. Wunderkinder is not a true story, neither is it a believable one. Inserting musical prodigies, and concert quality performances, into a story of children trying to survive the Holocaust felt to me like a cynical attempt to find an audience, and turn a profit. You may well disagree.
And back from the Film Festival, where they both received four star reviews. The Last Ocean and How Far is Heaven are two most excellent documentaries, which I hope will find an audience.
The Last Ocean uncovers the story the exploitation of the fishing grounds around the Antarctic's Ross Sea, and New Zealand's involvement there. While How Far is Heaven takes us to the village of Jerusalem, on the Whanganui river, and introduces us the lives of three Sisters of Compassion who work there. If you missed either of these films at the festival, make the time to see them now. They are, in their very different way, important stories of where we live.
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