Opening in theaters this weekend is the daring and courageous true story of a young boy who out foxed the Germans during WWII Poland for four years. The film digs deep into the heart of the young man who wouldn’t give up even in the face of death. If you see one foreign film this year, make it be Run Boy Run, it will stay with long after you have left the theater. Not enough can be said of the atrocities that took place in Europe during the most diabolical era of mankind that defined genocide and depicted man’s inhumanity to man.
It’s the winter of 1942 and in the crowded Warsaw Ghetto of Poland families are being pulled up like weeds and taken to an unknown destination. Seeing the end coming for his family the father of 8-year-old Srulik Fridman (Andrzej Tkacz) tells his son in a moment of desperation to flee the Warsaw Ghetto and never stop running. Afraid of the Germans and believing in his father’s urgency he dashes into the snow covered woods where we see him huddled under a log in the first scene. He manages to stay ahead of the German police and makes his way into an open field during a fierce blizzard.
Limping, freezing, tired and hungry the one thing keeping him going are his father’s words. “Be strong, you must survive and never give up. You have to forget your name and your mother and father. But you should never forget you are a Jew.” He finally reaches a farm house where he collapses after knocking on the door. There he gets taken in by Magda Janczyk (Elizabeth Duda) the wife of a Polish Partisan. So begins an arduous 4-year journey steeped in courage, desperation, deception and shrewdness as he tries to stay alive in a country that has gone mad from the invasion of killers and despots.
The incredible film gets a lot of TLC from its director Pepe Danquart making sure that it doesn’t ever get maudlin, sappy, or incredulous. Danquart movies his film along showing the plight of Srulik who changes his name, learns the Christian religion, wears a cross and learns what to say as to why he’s an orphan. He turns his camera on the boy in locations that depict his struggle against the weather, a prizon and the German police. His desire for realism gives his central actor Andrzej Tkacz a chance to show his ability to bring Shulik to the screen as a believable character. Giving the performance of his life in his first role in a movie he looks like a natural for a long career.
The whole cast are believable in their roles from the boys he meets in the woods, farmer families who take him in, and even the despicable German police who never let up in their “job” to rid their world of Jews. It’s the perfect ensemble cast that supports Tkacz and makes Run Boy Run a winner.
Run Boy Run has not been rated by the MPAA, but contains violence, language, brutality and scenes of ridicule. The film plays out in Polish, German, Russian, and Yiddish languages with English Subtitles. Be cautious when deciding to allow immature children see the film as it does have some scenes that are extremely harsh.
FINAL ANALYSIS: A film you will long remember after you have left the theater (A)
Additional Film Information:
Cast: Andrzej Tkacz, Kamil Tkacz, Elisabeth Duda, Jeanette Hain, Itay Tiran, Katarzyna Bargielowska, Rainer Bock
Directed by: Pepe Danquart (Angel of Death)
Holocaust novel by: Israeli author Uri Orlev
Genre: War, Drama, Foreign (Germany, France)
Language: Polish, German, Russian, Yiddish
MPAA Rating: Not Rated, Contains violence, language, sexual inferences
Running Time: 1 hr. 47 min.
Release Date: October 9, 2015
Distributed by: Menemsha Films