Friday, 18 January 2008

Frederik Ring "Dachau near Munich"

Type into Google the word "Dachau" and every reference on the first page at least is to the concentration camp. Dachau is a city of 40400 in the state of Bayern, Germany. Munich is 13 miles away. Dachau near Munich (9 minutes) is a 2006 movie by yesterday's featured animator, Frederik Ring, albeit very different, in choice of media, style and tone. This is a story, told in the first person, of a thirteen year old schoolboy living in Dachau, a place forever associated in the eyes of the world with Nazi atrocities. Yet from the boy's perspective Dachau is a home for normal, everyday life and his concerns range from the inclusion of his drawings in the school magazine to a display by monster trucks. Oh and, I nearly forgot, girls. Frederick's movie presents an oblique view of the Holocaust. "The memorial site " is mentioned several times, the former death camp being visible as the boy and his friends cycle past, it features at the end of the movie though with an unexpected, apt ending. Thus Frederik's theme is of life proceeding and the horrors of the past being just that: the past. One moment encapsulates the theme. The boy is searching for a postcard to send to his exchange partner and scans the stand. Despite there being plenty of cards to choose from the boy elects to draw his own. Frederik's 2D drawing is very stylised and I feel it suits the manner of narration and subject. And don't consider for one moment this to be, even potentially, a harrowing film. Frederik incorporates moments of real humour. I liked the moment when he takes his girl on the funicular and becomes aware he may have a rival for her affections. The link is to the English version of the movie. I struggled with the German edition and missed a lot of the subtlety.


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