Saturday, October 25, 2014

"I Am David": a boy escapes a Stalinist concentration camp in the early 1950s


I Am David”, a 2003 by Paul Feig, based on the book by Anne Holm (with alternate title “North to Freedom”) is to be commended for presenting Stalin’s concentration camps after WWII (instead of Hitler’s).  In 1952, David (Ben Tibber) escapes a labor camp in Bulgaria with the help of his mentor Johannes (Jim Caviezel), who gets killed as a result.  With only a compass, David must navigate, often hitchhiking, all the way to Denmark to deliver a secret letter, but really will get reunited with his mother.

Along the way he meets a lot of interesting characters, and in one scene rescues a girl from a burning barn.

The film shows lots of flashbacks to the camp in sepia tones. 


The painter who takes him across the border from Italy into Switzerland says to him that he is a man of few words (but a lot to say), which could mean that someday he can be a man “of great power” if he wants to be. 

David is rather rough when he plays with the woman's cat. 
   
The film was developed by Walden Media and Lionsgate but shown largely in “independent” theaters.  I’m surprised that I missed it during my last months living in Minneapolis. 


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