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Bollywood Movie Reviews

Sparta: The Despicable Irony Of A Pedophile As A Protector




Rating: **

Austrian director Ulrich Seidl’s  Sparta is  a very difficult film to watch.  It tackles one of the worst crimes of our times– pedophilia—with gentleness and sensitivity, which, perhaps, the subject doesn’t deserve,and we don’t want to see.

Who wants to watch a  40-year old man struggling not to  let his  basic instinct to  have sex with  children get the better  of him?

This is precisely why  Sparta  a watchable film. It  addresses the unthinkable, adumbrates  the  unmentionable.  It  deep-dives into  the pedophile  Ewald( Georg Friedrich)’s subconscious, tries to create  a cordon  of empathy for the twisted despicable man  just because he controls his perverse urges and frolics freely with children in Translyvania .

There are  many sequences in this very troublesome film  where little boys are seen playing showering and  sleeping next to Ewald.In  one  particularly  indigestible sequence Ewald is fully naked prancing around with the kids with his genitals on  display while the  kids are in  their underwear. Apparently these scenes were shot without the kids being aware of what was being insinuated. The parents of  the  children were apparently not informed that this was a film about a pedophile.All for art’s sake,of course.

We are supposed to  admire Ewald  for being an EVOLVED pedophile  as compared with a DEBASED  pedophile who would have probably taken advantage of  the kids while pretending to teach them  judo.

The  director goes to great lengths to establish that Ewald is not like that,that  he has gone beyond his  twisted  unnatural urges  to  give  these underprivileged  kids the opportunity to be sporty in an environment safer then their poverty affords.

This  is  where  Sparta gets  really  vexing. Should we even consider feeling  sorry for  this closeted sociopath  just because he  doesn’t molest these children around him?

Understandably  this film’s moral compass is completely askew, and proudly so. Writer-director Ulrich Seidl is unapologetic in his empathy for Ewald whom he sees as a  pitiable man fighting his inner demons. That he triumphs  over his depravity is something that is uncomfortably  laudable in Sparta.

The monstrous political incorrectness of  the theme  pushes further into  a dense jungle of  moral  ambiguity by showing the kids being relatively safer in Ewald’s citadel.Some of the boys are shown to have conveniently  brutal  fathers.

I would have considered empathizing with Ewald had he not chosen to  present himself fully naked before little kids. The  shooting of these scenes  is as problematic to  watch as they were  to shoot. The  film’s maker faced multiple child-abuse allegations  during the  shooting .Ultimately the question, should  we  feel sympathy for a  pedophile for his kindness towards children,  is not even worth addressing.


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