Run Boy Run (Lauf Junge Lauf)…a movie review by Roz Tarszisz

November 4, 2014 by Roz Tarszisz
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In the stark and snow covered landscape of a Polish winter in 1942/1943, a boy sleeps alone in the woods.

In flashback we see his father farewelling the boy, stressing that he has to be “brave and strong and never give up” He must hide who he really is but “you must never forget that you are a Jew.”

Srulik (Kamil Tkacz) escaped from his town when his mother and siblings were rounded up by German soldiers. In the forest he meets other children like himself. One boy tells him to never take down his trousers in front of Poles or it will be obvious he is Jewish. When the feral gang of kids are chased by soldiers, he escapes.

Magda, (Ellizabeth Duda) takes him into her farmhouse and nurtures him. Her husband and sons are away fighting as partisans. She teaches him how to behave as a Catholic and he gains respite from the harsh winter.

Over the next few years he passes through the countryside, working for food. Rife as the anti-Semitism is, ordinary Poles are portrayed as capable of both cruelty and compassion. Without the latter he probably would not have survived for so long. The rural settings are beautifully shot – both winter and summer.

When Srulik has a terrible accident, it seems impossible that he can go on. He has lost his innocence of the world and all he has are his spirit and grit to carry him through.

Eventually he finds a haven within a small farming community. He remains in situ after the war ends until Moshe (Itay Tiran) from a Jewish orphanage in Warsaw comes to claim him. His interaction with Moshe resonates with truth.

Based on the novelisation of a true story, many scenes are set in forests, which get a bit repetitive. However it is worth watching because you want this boy to survive against the huge odds stacked against him. Performances are uniformly good and the young lead carries the film well. Score by Stephane Moucha provides a powerful and haunting background.

Starring Kamil Tkacz, Elizabeth Duda, Itay Tiran, Rainer Bock, Jeanette Hain

Directed by Pepe Danquart

From the novel Run Boy Run by Uri Orlev, based on the life story of Yoram Fridman

Screenplay by Heinrich Hadding and Pepe Danquart

French- German co-production 2014. Filmed in Poland and Israel.

German, Hebrew, Polish, Yiddish with English subtitles  112mins

Screening at the Jewish International Film Festival in Auckland, Gold Coast, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney. See www.jiff.com.au for dates and details

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