DMovies - Your platform for thought-provoking cinema

Anna’s War

Director - Aleksey Fedorchenko - 2018

"Mostly clean movie"
Six-year-old Jewish orphan survives Nazi occupation of Russia by hiding under her mother's corpse and then in a disused chimney - from the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival

QUICK SNAP: LIVE FROM THE TALLINN BLACK NIGHTS FILM FESTIVAL

Anna’s family has been killed by the Nazis. The bodies are piled up on top of each under a thin layer of soil. Yet the young girl (played by Marta Kozlova) has miraculously survived. She finds shelter in a large disused building. She hides mostly inside the chimney and in the attic. She has to fend for herself for the remaining duration of the War.

Anna’s War is almost entirely devoid of dialogue. The director made the audacious creative choice not to use any subtitles at all. Except very briefly in the beginning of the film when Anna is found and identified as an “Yid” and then again in the end of the movie, when her hiding spot is briefly uncovered by a local Russian (who decides not to hand her in). Presumably, the girl only spoke Yiddish and the director wanted to emphasise her alienation by rendering the dialogues incomprehensible (unless you speak Russian, German and French). It works.

Sadly, that’s about the only creative choice that’s effective. Otherwise, this Russian production tries too hard to be some sort of avant-garde art house movie about children in wartime. This is neither Anne Frank nor Ivan’s Childhood (Andrei Tarkovsky, 1962). It has neither the superb storytelling skills nor the artistic flair. Not a scintilla of it. The DOP pulls a couple tricks on dirty mirrors, perhaps attempting to emulate Tarkovsky, but it just looks silly and banal. Instead, Anna’s War looks like a poorly executed British television drama, minus the dialogue.

In addition to the cumbersome aesthetics, the make-up is also problematic. A little coal rubbed on you face does not indicate severe malnutrition. Anna survives on mostly on dirty liquids (including her own urine) and detritus, yet somehow she’s the picture of health. The inhumane conditions in which she lives are very awkward, and the settings just don’t look very credible. Plus, Kozlova’s performance is a little stilted, and it seems she’s consistently acting on cue.

Overall, a great premise and yet a missed opportunity. Perhaps the whole thing would have functioned better as a short film instead.

Anna’s War is showing at the 22nd Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival. DMovies is following the event live.



"Mostly clean movie"

By Victor Fraga - 22-11-2018

By Victor Fraga - 22-11-2018

Victor Fraga is a Brazilian born and London-based writer with more than 15 years of involvemen...

DMovies Poll

Are the Oscars dirty enough for DMovies?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Most Read

History repeats itself again and again. Ex-Shaman portrays [Read More...]
Just a few years back, finding a film [Read More...]
For me, film festivals are exciting because they [Read More...]
Pigs might fly. And so Brexit might happen. [Read More...]
When people die, they are taken to the [Read More...]
John (Costas Mandylor) says, “your mother didn’t like [Read More...]

Read More

How about a new Cleopatra movie?

 

Tim Werner - 18-04-2019

It is a movie that has been speculated about for almost a decade, but rumours have once again emerged this year regarding the prospect of a new big-screen take on the story of Cleopatra! [Read More...]

Where Hands Touch

Amma Asante
2019

Lucas Pistilli - 17-04-2019

Black girl meets white boy in Nazi Germany, what could go wrong? Romantic war drama raises questions about unshakeable national identity, in a story with many parallels to the Brexit narrative - in cinemas Friday, May 10th [Read More...]

Dragged Across Concrete

S. Craig Zahler
2018

Jeremy Clarke - 15-04-2019

Refrigerator. Dead rat. Dirty characters exhibit misogyny and racism in this bleak vision and slow burning, edge-of-the-seat thriller - in cinemas from Friday, April 19th [Read More...]

Facebook Comment

Website Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *