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Bollywood Movie Reviews

The Windmere Children Innocence & Hope In The Face Of Evil



The  Windmere Children(BBC 2)

Written by Simon Block and directed by Michael Samuels.

Rating: ****(4 stars)

 On 27  January 1945  the Auschwitz Nazi concentration camp was liberated by the  Red Army. But can humanity  ever wipe out the slur  of  the evil that  one man named Adolf Hitler perpetrated  on  the Jews?

Great  films about Nazi atrocities  such  as  Steven Spielberg’s  Schindler’s List and  Alan Pakula’s Sophie’s Choice took us  straight  into the  the horrors of Nazi Germany.The Windmere Children chooses  a path  of refreshing departure  . It brings to us the true-life story  of  young  holocaust  survivors, children  so  young they are  unable to  process  even a part of  the horror they’ve been subjected  to.

This is  the  story of 300 children  brought to  England after WW2,  trying to understand  a world that  wants to heal their traumatized souls. It’s often  very dramatically told and sometimes I  found the punctuations in  the narrative to be too affirmative. For example  a group of local British boys heckle their Jew guests by  gesturing ‘Heil ,Hitler.’ One  of  the holocaust survivors pees in  his pants. The supervisor of  the rehabilitation process  walks over  to  the hecklers  and  gives them  a crash course  in  compassion. The hecklers walk away repentant.

If only life’s cruelties were that simple to eradicate. This film shows how  compassion can only heal to point.Beyond that the  victim is left with  only his or her own devices to destroy the  inner demons.

The  Windmere Children chooses to spread its narrative into a pastiche  of positivity. It’s memorable  for its optimism and for the gallery of  young authentic Jew actors(no Meryl Streeptrapezing over  her cultivated Polish accent in Sophie’s Choice)    who  play  the young  holocaust survivors(some of them  toddlers!!!) with such  heartbreaking  honesty .

 I felt  my heart break  into  many pieces  to see their fragile  innocence  trying to  survive  beyond  the brutality  of  the death camps where they were  imprisoned before being rescued.

 This television  feature-film has many passages  of  extraordinary  rehabilitation. The little children  don’t take the  comfortable beds they are given in Windmere but instinctively sleep on the  floor. Encouraged to  paint and sketch they draw  from their demoniacal  past and  grope with the  English language  trying to under the phonetics of ‘Family’ while coming to the realization  that they have no family.They attack the bread served at meals as though it were  their last, which is what  they had gathered  about their  doomed lives in concentration camps.

 The magical lakeside setting creates a  kind of  hushed  redemptive  atmosphere  for  the children where they struggle with demons that  would never leave them. Gently  plodding on through their healing process, the  film ends  by showing us the real-life  survivors  in their old age speaking  about how they coped with the baggage of  indescribable brutality in their new adopted homes in London.

 This is a wonderful therapeutic film  that must be seen during these times when  history is making the same  mistakes  of  highlighting racial supremacy and religious hegemony  over humanity.

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