War: what is it good for? Movies

Title: Wunderkinder

Director: Marcus O Rosenmuller

Rated: M


Films about WW2 and particularly the holocaust can make for difficult viewing especially when they concern children, but they are important stories that bear witness to life and death on our little planet. And Wunderkinder is a moving and absorbing film about friendship and courage, and music, which is dedicated to the 1.6 million Jewish children killed by the Nazis during the war.

The film, by the German director Marcus O. Rosenmuller, is set in Ukraine in 1941, and it follows the ebb and flow of events before and during the German invasion.

The story concerns three child prodigies of classical music: Jewish violinist Abrascha (Elin Kolev) and pianist Larissa (Imogen Burrell), and young German violinist Hanna (Mathilda Adamik). Abrascha and Larissa play in Russia's great concert halls before the party elite, even Stalin. Hanna, the daughter of a wealthy German brewer Max Reich (Kai Wasinger) is desperate to learn and play with them.

Told in flashback, the story traces the initial reluctance of the two prodigies being overcome by a fierce loyalty of friendship as the German occupation overwhelms the town and and the deporting of Jews begins. The young leads all give outstanding performances, and while some of the actors and dialogue seem stilted, Wunderkinder is a heartfelt and engrossing movie.

Wunderkinder will be screened at the Bush Theatre, Nimbin this Friday and Saturday, September 14 and 15, at 7.30pm.

Title: Apocalypse Now

Director: Francis Ford Coppola

Rated: R


Along with his three Godfather movies and The Conversation, Coppola's Apocalypse Now (1979) ranks as his masterwork in its haunting, hallucinatory epic scale of film-as-opera. It's also undoubtedly his greatest cinema ordeal, a massively troubled production detailed in Eleanor Coppola's book Notes and the doco Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse. The initial lead actor Harvey Keitel was dropped for Martin Sheen who suffered a heart attack during filming, a typhoon destroyed one of the major sets, Brando's hugely overweight arrival meant most of his scenes were shot in near darkness, and major problems with sound, music and the narration delayed the release for 16 months... and then there were various endings released and a further Redux version in 2001 with an extra 49 minutes.

Regardless of any of these problems Coppola's Apocalypse Now is a brilliant movie, a psychological horror story of America's disaster in the Vietnam war. Based on Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness and adapted by John Milius, in many ways it is a simple story: a war torn Captain Willard (Sheen) is sent up river into Cambodia to eliminate 'with extreme prejudice' renegade Special Forces Colonel Walter E. Kurtz (Brando) who is waging his own brutal unsanctioned campaign.

Thrown into the spectacular mix are Wagner and T.S. Eliot, Robert Duvall's Cololnel Kilgore, a crazed Dennis Hopper, Playboy playmates and drug-addled and terrified young soldiers. The film stunningly chronicles America's lost war.

Apocalypse Now will be screened at Star Court Theatre in Lismore this Saturday, September 15, at 8pm.

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