Life Is Beautiful." That alone could send many of us running for the hills, as it brings back memories of a truly appalling movie, as well as of one of the most embarrassing acceptance speeches/performances in the history of the Oscars. I might not have bothered watching nor covering this new film, except that I am an admirer of its director, Roberto Faenza, who earlier gave us Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You, and his still-unreleased-in-the-USA, The Soul Keeper.
Whatever. The end result is something bizarre in the extreme: a kind of fairy-tale, post-Holocaust film in which its mis-cast leading lady, playing a young Holocaust survivor, keeps a smile on her face through thick, thin and otherwise, while insisting that everyone around her -- including a two-year-old child -- learn and/or remember what happened during those terrible times.
Eline Powell (above, who was much better in a smaller role in last year's Private Peaceful), tries her best to get a handle on her character, but as composited by the various writers, she seems more like a girl who stumbled in from some Disney-level fairy-tale and has decided to act as a therapeutic cheerleader in getting her surviving friends and family to face up to things.
here to read a bit about what really happened -- without the feel-good, fairy-tale overlay. Unlike Life Is Beautiful, which -- for all its glossy, big-budget look -- proved a poor attempt at turning the Holocaust into a feel-good film, Anita B. seems less offensive than just plain silly.
DigiNext and Four-of-a-Kind Productions and running just 88 minutes -- opens this Friday, April 24, in New York City at the Quad Cinema and on April 30 at the Pelham Picture House.