Nov 23 2010

Bittersweet Chocolate on local screens

Published by at 01:41 under Articles,English,Screening Room

SOURCE: http://cineuropa.org/newsdetail.aspx?lang=en&documentID=153964 – Boyd van Hoeij

Luxembourg’s hardest-working director, Andy Bausch, was originally doing research for a fiction project about a Luxembourg girl who falls in love with an American G.I. during WWII, when he realized that many of the amazing war-time stories from the people were too precious not to be recorded.

Much of Bausch’ material has found its way into one of the director’s most accomplished documentaries yet: Schockela, Knätschgummi a Brong Puppelcher (international title: Chocolate, Chewing Gum and Brown Babies), which looks at the arrival of the American army in Luxembourg during WWII and how the Luxembourgers interacted with Americans, their culture (or, sometimes, lack thereof) and the exotic things mentioned in the title that they left behind.

Earlier WWII documentaries by other filmmakers, such as Heim ins Reich (2004) and Charlotte: A Royal at War (2008), attracted enough visitors to become one of the ten most-visited films in their respective years of release. But these films treated their subjects with little eye for the many contradictions and unsavoury details that are part of any war, a reality that Schokela is more willing to look at, especially in its second half.

Though not exactly a critical look, it shows that there were differing opinions about the behaviour and mores of the Americans – and the Luxembourgers that interacted with them. The impact of this more complex overview of what is considered a well-known episode in Luxembourg history (whose protagonists includes not only many unknowns but also the likes of Hemingway and General Patton) is, unfortunately, somewhat lessened by nostalgically staged re-enactments of wartime scenes that add little. The photographs of soldier Tony Vaccaro (also interviewed) and archive footage are more authentic and amply support the many talking heads.

The film is currently playing on five Luxembourg screens, which is an unusually large release for the Grand Duchy. It is distributed by Paul Thiltges Distributions, which also produced the film.

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SOURCE: http://cineuropa.org/newsdetail.aspx?lang=en&documentID=153964 – Boyd van Hoeij

Luxembourg’s hardest-working director, Andy Bausch, was originally doing research for a fiction project about a Luxembourg girl who falls in love with an American G.I. during WWII, when he realized that many of the amazing war-time stories from the people were too precious not to be recorded.

Much of Bausch’ material has found its way into one of the director’s most accomplished documentaries yet: Schockela, Knätschgummi a Brong Puppelcher (international title: Chocolate, Chewing Gum and Brown Babies), which looks at the arrival of the American army in Luxembourg during WWII and how the Luxembourgers interacted with Americans, their culture (or, sometimes, lack thereof) and the exotic things mentioned in the title that they left behind.

Earlier WWII documentaries by other filmmakers, such as Heim ins Reich (2004) and Charlotte: A Royal at War (2008), attracted enough visitors to become one of the ten most-visited films in their respective years of release. But these films treated their subjects with little eye for the many contradictions and unsavoury details that are part of any war, a reality that Schokela is more willing to look at, especially in its second half.

Though not exactly a critical look, it shows that there were differing opinions about the behaviour and mores of the Americans – and the Luxembourgers that interacted with them. The impact of this more complex overview of what is considered a well-known episode in Luxembourg history (whose protagonists includes not only many unknowns but also the likes of Hemingway and General Patton) is, unfortunately, somewhat lessened by nostalgically staged re-enactments of wartime scenes that add little. The photographs of soldier Tony Vaccaro (also interviewed) and archive footage are more authentic and amply support the many talking heads.

The film is currently playing on five Luxembourg screens, which is an unusually large release for the Grand Duchy. It is distributed by Paul Thiltges Distributions, which also produced the film.

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