Europa Europa | Chicago Reader

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Agnieszka Holland's slightly fictionalized 1990 account of the remarkable true story of Solomon Perel, a Jewish teenager who survived World War II first by hiding in a Soviet orphanage, then by impersonating a Hitler youth at the most prestigious and elite boys' school in Germany. His circumcised penis was the only thing that gave away his true identity; Holland uses this fact, among others, to turn the tale into a picaresque tragicomedy about Germany, Poland, and the Soviet Union during the war years, full of dark but compassionate ironies about Jewish and European identities. Masterful in her handling of actors as well as in her sense of narrative sweep, she makes this a suspenseful and exhilarating parable. With Marco and Rene Hofschneider, Delphine Forest, Andre Wilms, Julie Delpy, Halina Labonarska, and Solomon Perel himself in the film's closing shots. 112 min.

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