⋆⋆½ out of four stars
Rated: Not rated.
Theater: St. Anthony Main.
When you first see Cornelia in “Child's Pose” — played by the astonishing Romanian actress Luminita Gheorghiu — she’s seated on a sofa, a scowl creasing her face and a cigarette burning in her hand. She bitterly recites complaints about a man. While she makes him sound like a lover, he turns out to be her only child, Barbu (Bogdan Dumitrache), which suggests that something is rotten in Bucharest, where much of the story unfolds. Written by Razvan Radulescu and directed by Calin Peter Netzer, the film is at once an allegory about the new Romania and a slice of naturalism that turns on a traffic accident that has left a boy dead and Barbu’s future in jeopardy. It sounds heavy and it is. It’s too bad that the filmmakers don’t allow an occasional breath of air into the sepulchral proceedings or ease up on the increasingly heavy-handed lessons.
MAHNOLA DARGIS, NEW YORK TIMES
⋆⋆⋆ out of four stars
Unrated: War violence, sexuality. In subtitled German.
This high-end German miniseries encourages us to view World War II not as a conflict between absolutes of good and evil, but in shades of gray, assuaging the national guilt complex of the Nazi era. Its two-part, five-hour arc concerns five prototypical, jazz-loving young Germans who enter the war as fast friends. They emerge as casualties of various kinds. Stefan Kolditz’s screenplay is as much concerned with their inner struggles as the carnage on the Eastern Front (though director Philipp Kadelbach doesn’t stint there, either).
The film is hardly a whitewash of German aggression, but its battle scenes show more empathy for the suffering of wounded Wehrmacht soldiers than their opponents. Polish resistance fighters come off worse, and the Red Army worst of all. Reactions to this exercise in revisionism may vary from sympathy, if you believe everyday Germans were also Hitler’s victims, to indignation, if you consider them his accomplices.
Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me