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Italy/France 1960
Directed by
Gillo Pontecorvo
115 minutes

3 stars


Nominated for a Best Foreign Language Film Oscar Pontecorvo's debut feature examines the lot of a young Jewish girl (Susan Strasberg) in a Nazi labour camp in WW II Germany. Strasberg is too old (she is supposed to be 14 at the outset) and too elfin-like to sit comfortably with the film's impressively realistic visual style, which is evidently influenced by Eisensteinian aesthetics, or her supposed role as a Nazi hench-person. Particularly when compounded by a love story between her and a good-looking Russian, one has to ask whether screenwriters Pontecorvo and Franco Solinas could not have spent more time on constructing a narrative that better lent itself to their ambitious purpose. BH




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