October 21, 2009

Last night, as part of the World Cinema Section in the on-going 11th CineManila International Film Festival, I saw Paul Schrader’s film “Adam Resurrected”—a type of film I haven’t seen for quite a time; a film I watched with awe—beautiful, gripping, with stunning performances by Jeff Goldblum, Willem Dafoe…; of the likes of Tin Drum but a film I appreciated better. The revelatory technique kept me in suspense from the beginning of the film…until it ends. I had seen quite a few films tackling the Nazi days but Schrader’s choice of subject and treatment was so unusual you’d really journey in with the main character Adam Stein—in his past and present. With him you’d feel the pain, his psychological pain. With him you’d understand more what most of the Jewish who suffered from the Nazi hands went through. I have read some stupid remarks about it on the internet but I think the person who commented it [from Germany] is just in denial of their past or simply mediocre in appreciation of this type of movie which I would say employed magic realism.

For me, Adam Resurrected is a masterpiece…it is great cinema. A film everybody should see.

“Adam Resurrected” follows the story of Adam Stein, a charismatic patient at a mental institution for Holocaust survivors in Israel, 1961. He reads minds and confounds his doctors, lead by Nathan Gross. Before the war, in Berlin, Adam was an entertainer–cabaret impresario, circus owner, magician, musician–loved by audiences and Nazis alike until he finds himself in a concentration camp, confronted by Commandant Klein. Adam survives the camp by becoming the Commandant’s “dog”, entertaining him while his wife and daughter are sent off to die. Years later we find him at the Institute. One day, Adam smells something, hears a sound. “Who brought a dog in here?” he asks Gross…[from IMDB] The rest of the story should be seen however not told.

Paul Schrader is in Manila right now to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award from CineManila for the body of works he had contributed as writer, director, as total filmmaker.


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