Other than the rescue work done by Raoul Wallenberg, TrustMovies knew few details of the WWII Holocaust specific to Hungary until he came upon the press kit for TICKLING LEO, the new film by first-time writer/director Jeremy Davidson (shown below)
whose career till now has been as actor in television and film. The brief historical time-line provided by the press kit, with its short history about the specific Hungarian Holocaust situation and Jewish "rescuer" Rudolph Kasztner -- beginning in Hungary and ending in Israel -- was fascinating enough to get me exploring further.
Talk about "fraught": What happened in Hungary toward the end of WWII takes a situation such as that found in Sophie's Choice and raises it from an event befalling an individual to one that takes in an entire city -- if not country.
Davidson's film opens with the credits Barn Door Pictures in association with Highbrow Entertainment presents... This funny and ironic combination of "country and sophisticated" might stand for the writer/director's enterprise itself, for the most ironic thing about his endeavor is that the movie, as well-acted as it is (very!) does not, for me, come near the level of drama, horror and betrayal found in simply imagining what happened in 1944 Hungary -- once you know even a bit of this history.
What Mr. Davidson has done is to take this actual piece of the Hungarian Holocaust and create a set of fictional present-day characters: three generations of one family, including two women who are now partners of the family's men, and one connected character who simply sits in a local bar and acts as a reminder. Though the film takes place mostly in a lakeside home in New York's Catskills, the tentacles of the Holocaust have reached out to en-
velop all of these people--whether they realize it or not. This is cer-
tainly a legitimate enough way to create a story of "now," based on "then." As a writer, Davidson is not especially given to the style of clunky exposition that over-explains things; he more often alludes to and/or dances around. So why does the movie not coalesce into the kind of resounding whole that might truly shake us up?
upon son, while Eli Wallach plays late-arriving, good-time Gramps.
Tickling Leo opens theatrically –- in time for Rosh Hashanah -- in the New York City area tomorrow, September 4, while concurrently appearing on DVD. This should make another interesting test-case for theatrical revenue vs same-day DVD release.
above -- swinging on tire -- is by Bess Greenberg;
the one of writer/director Jeremy Davidson is by MS;
and the other is from the film itself.)