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In 1946, a group of German POWs are mistakenly sent to a Soviet female transit prison camp and must cope with the hostility of the Soviet female inmates and guards, under the orders of cruel camp commander Pavlov.
Hans Geissendorfer's "Schneeland" or Snowland provided one of the most gripping, emotional evenings of theater I've experienced.
The film was premiered in the U.S. at the '05 Sundance Film Festival in January. Geissendorfer was there and answered questions from the audience after the film.
Altho most reviews of the film seem to focus on the modern-day story of the German woman who is desperately depressed, the real story is of Inna and her abusive father on a subsistence farm in Depression-era Lapland. The manner that Geissendorfer makes us aware of the linkage between the two women over the years generates unexpected emotional results.
Here is a real story, told beautifully, with a surprising ending that leaves us with a sense of satisfaction and hope.
I think most reviewers who've rated the film so low were reacting to the taboo topic of parental molestation, and the grim politically-incorrect circumstances of the film. But these are issues that humans have had to deal with for their entire history, right up to today. To see such a story told honestly, grippingly, and so beautifully, makes "Schneeland" my nomination for my best film experience in the past year.
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