Painting a curiously cozy portrait of refugee life, Caroline Link’s “When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit” views displacement and the approaching Holocaust primarily by way of the experiences of a kid, Anna Kemper (a fascinating Riva Krymalowski). The result’s a film that’s virtually as cuddly because the toy in its title.
We meet 9-year-old Anna in Berlin in 1933, simply earlier than the Nazis come to energy. Forced to flee to guard her father, Arthur (Oliver Masucci), a famous theater critic and distinguished denouncer of Hitler, the household — together with Anna’s older brother, Max (Marinus Hohmann), and their mom, Dorothea (Carla Juri) — relocates to the Swiss countryside. While the kids grapple with a brand new language and unfamiliar customs, Arthur struggles to seek out work in a rustic he learns is experiencing an inflow of Jewish intellectuals and is scared of compromising its neutrality.
A transfer to a meager Paris residence solely accelerates their diminishing circumstances. Yet, contemplating the horrors unfolding in Germany, the household’s issues really feel staggeringly trivial. News that the Nazis have looted their dwelling and burned their books, and that Arthur now has a worth on his head, appears to reach from one other planet because the movie focuses on Anna’s growing inventive expertise. It’s tough to sympathize with a household whose most urgent issues are a snippy French landlady (Anne Bennent) and the power to afford personal education for just one little one. Indeed, Dorothea’s disdain for public colleges (“They don’t even teach Latin there”) expresses a privilege that feels shockingly misplaced.
This soft-pedal, sentimental method is clearly owed to Judith Kerr’s 1971 children’s novel, which Link and Anna Brüggemann have tailored with out cracking a lot of a window onto the grownup world. The household experiences some delicate anti-Semitism, however the movie carries no real sense of looming menace or the perils of their predicament. Much like Link’s 2003 characteristic, “Nowhere in Africa” — wherein a rich Jewish household relocates to Kenya — the tempo is lingering, the tone heat, the palette shiny and the temper determinedly optimistic. And as Anna strikes from scribbling footage of disasters to casting gloomy ideas apart, the movie strains to inject even a modicum of drama.
“Good will always win,” Anna’s beloved godfather, Uncle Julius (an ideal Justus von Dohnányi), guarantees her earlier than she leaves Berlin. That’s as correct a abstract of the film’s message as any.
When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit
Not rated. In German, with subtitles. Running time: 1 hour 59 minutes. In theaters. Please seek the advice of the guidelines outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention earlier than watching motion pictures inside theaters.