Winter in Wartime
by George Sax
Filmmaker Martin Koolhoven’s Winter in Wartime is adapted from a reportedly popular 1970s Dutch young people’s novel, a Second World War coming-of-age story. Transferred to the screen by Koolhoven with what may well be a high degree of fidelity, it seems a film import without much of a potential audience in this country. Twelve-year-old Michiel (a very effective amateur, Martijan Lakemeir) is the son of a mayor in a German-occupied town during the war who finds himself a lonely resistance fighter when an English pilot is shot down in the nearby countryside. Michiel secretly and accidentally becomes the pilot’s only contact and protector. Meanwhile, the boy has doubts about his father’s seemingly too-friendly relations with the Germans.
All this might make for a filmed adventure yarn for young people, but it’s probably unsuitable for those kids who perhaps should not be exposed to its occasionally bad language, instances of disturbing violence, and brief sexual material. Another obstacle, too, is appropriateness in American youngsters’ general lack of knowledge about the war or its theatre of operations.
And Koolhoven doesn’t really dramatize the situations convincingly. Winter in Wartime was a strange choice for distribution over here.
Watch the trailer for Winter in Wartime
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