Archive for the ‘Brian Percival’ Category

Death as the Narrator

The Book Thief

book_thief_ver2

Director: Brian Percival

Starring: Geoffrey Rush, Emily Watson, Sophie Nelisse, Kirsten Block, Nico Liersch, Rainer Bock, Ben Schnetzer

The cinematic adaptation of Markus Zusak’s bestselling novel The Book Thief by screenwriter Michael Petroni retains the central theme of Death as the Narrator, particularly appropriate as it follows the life of Liesel as she is adopted by a German family in a smaller village on the brink of World War II and the encroaching tide of Nazism which was to engulf Germany and lead it into War.

The BBC hit series Downton Abbey British director Brian Percival’s adaption of The Book Thief like the novel focuses on the story of Liesel Meminger beautifully played by Sophie Nelisse and her friendship with a local German boy Rudi Steiner wonderfully played by Nico Liersch and essentially the narrative is framed by a child’s vision of a brutal and cruel world in which books are being burned and oppression is rife.

war_horse

Percival sticks to framing the fortunes of Liesel and her adopted parents Hans and Rosa Hubermann superbly played by Geoffrey Rush (The King’s Speech) and Emily Watson (War Horse) and the young girls desire to become completely literate discovering words as a means to heal the loss of her brother and make sense of the anarchy and horror of approaching war which is about to disrupt their tranquil existence.

To complicate matters, the Hubermanns harbour a Jewish refugee Max played by Ben Schnetzer as part of a debt that Herr Hubermann had to a deceased German Jewish man who saved his life during the First World War, bringing the sense that War begets War. Liesel strikes up a friendship with the youth in the cellar, wonderfully sensitive performance who soon realizes that by remaining there he is putting the lives of the entire family at risk as the Nazi’s edge closer to the final solution, Hitler’s plan to exterminate all the Jews in the Nazi Reich, which included all German occupied territories and those countries like Poland conquered during the German invasion during World War II. In a reverse of the bombing of wartime London in Stephen Frears’s magnificent film Mrs Henderson Presents, The Book Thief shows the average German civilian population also being stuck in bunkers as the Allies bombed their towns and cities.

The Book Thief is not about taking sides or points of view whether German or Allied, but effectively illustrates the inevitability of death, especially as it narrates life more poignantly and aggressively in times of war and the tragic effect it has on children. Death in this case is a voice over throughout the film, narrated by Roger Allam, discussing quite elegantly the taking of souls as people die. Grim stuff indeed, but made so lyrical by the hauntingly beautiful musical score by John Williams, The Book Thief‘s only Oscar nomination for 2014.

white_ribbon

The film is lyrical, irrepressible, sad and brilliantly acted especially by the young stars Nelisse and Liersch as the adult actors (Rush and Watson) stand back and allow these thespian proteges to shine so beautifully in such a sombre story of repression, devastation and loss. Recommended viewing for cinema lovers that enjoyed films like Stephen Daldry’s Oscar winning film The Reader or Michael Haneke’s excellent Austrian foreign language film The White Ribbon. German film actors Kirsten Block (The Reader) and Rainer Bock also from War Horse round out the cast.

Film Directors & Festivals
Reviews and Awards
Review Calender
February 2019
M T W T F S S
« Jan    
 123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728  
  • WGA Awards 2019: Bill Hader’s ‘Barry’ Wins Episodic Comedy Award
    The 71st annual Writers Guild Awards are underway at dual ceremonies at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif. and at the Edison Ballroom in New York City. Bill Hader and Alec Berg won the episodic comedy award for the opening segment of HBO’s “Barry,” “Chapter One: Make Your Mark” (“Barry”). Stephanie Gillis won […]
    Dave McNary
  • Box Office: ‘Alita: Battle Angel’ No Match for China’s ‘Wandering Earth’ Overseas
    Hollywood movies like “Alita: Battle Angel” and “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” are doing respectable business overseas, but they’re proving no match for foreign titles at the international box office. The Chinese New Year is bringing in huge business in the Middle Kingdom. China’s sci-fi epic “The Wandering Earth” pulled in a […]
    Rebecca Rubin
  • NYPD Officer Under Investigation for Allegedly Telling Police to Shoot 50 Cent ‘on Sight’
    A New York City precinct commander is under investigation for allegedly telling officers to shoot rapper 50 Cent on sight, a police rep confirmed to Variety on Sunday. “The matter is under internal review,” an NYPD rep said, declining to answer further questions. Deputy Inspector Emanuel Gonzalez is accused of telling officers during a June 7 roll […]
    Jem Aswad
  • Netmarble Operating Profit Nearly Halved in 2018
    Korea’s foremost mobile game publisher Netmarble experienced a 43.5% decrease in operating profit in the fourth quarter of 2018, a 59% drop year-over-year, the company announced in its financial report. While Netmarble’s releases “Lineage 2 Revolution,” “Marvel Future Fight,” “Marvel Contest of Champions,” and “Cookie Jam” have steadily performed in North American and Japanese markets […]
    Emily Gera
  • Steven Spielberg Takes Veiled Shot at Streamers, Urges Filmmakers to Make Movies for Theaters
    Steven Spielberg is continuing his quest to push filmmakers to make movies for theaters and not just for television. “I hope all of us really continue to believe that the greatest contributions we can make as filmmakers is to give audiences the motion picture theatrical experience,” the directing legend said on Saturday night while accepting […]
    marcmalkin
  • Article
    Over the past few years, several low-cost carriers have stepped up to offer competition and cheapest prices to customers looking to cut down their monthly bills. Tags: 2gmhass90