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MAISON DE NINA, LA

SYNOPSIS:
Many children left without parents for one reason or another - many Jewish - during and immediately after the war found special homes, such as one run by Nina (Agnes Jaoui) in North Eastern France. Here, children of all ages are given shelter and food - as far as the war allows. Above all, they are given security and love to help them get through the most difficult part of their lives, often having to learn of the death of their parents. But life at Nina's is not always tranquil, and the conflicts of the outside world often intrude.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
This heartfelt tribute to the many homes run by dedicated and selfless surrogate mothers canvasses a topic not often explored in movies about the war. The tragic stories of the children whose lives are shattered by separation and death are reminders of the old saying that it is always the innocents who suffer most.

Filmmaker Richard Dembo died before the film could be edited, but he had a rough cut and this version reflects his vision, according to producers Alain Rozanes and Pascal Verroust. Set between September 1944 and January 1946, the film takes us inside the world of these homes, showing the difficulties both in practical terms (scarcity of food, etc) and in psychological terms.

Although the screenplay isn't plot driven, it is a linear film, with major war milestones announced (eg bombing of Hiroshima). We follow a handful of children, but not closely enough to make them central to the film. Indeed, the film's episodic nature and its generalised treatment gives the film an almost documentary tone, despite some dramatic intervention. A sombre and often moving film, it is made engaging by fine performances, especially by the wise, sensitive and caring Nina as portrayed by Agnes Jaoui.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 1

MAISON DE NINA, LA (PG)
(France, 2005)

La Maison De Nina

CAST: Agnes Jaoui, Sarah Adler, Katia Lewkowitz, Arieh Elmaleh, Sebastien Knafo, Adele Csech

PRODUCER: Alain Rozanes, Pascal Verroust

DIRECTOR: Richard Dembo

SCRIPT: Richard Dembo

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Laurent Fleutot

EDITOR: Isabelle Devinck

MUSIC: Teddy Lasry

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Christian Marti

RUNNING TIME: 110 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Champion Pictures

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: November 23, 2006







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