The Boston Phoenix
Review from issue: September 7 - 14, 2000

[Boston Film Festival]

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Into the Arms of Strangers

A Phoenix pick

No Life Is Beautiful, this Holocaust documentary chronicles the rescue of 10,000 Jewish children via the kindertransport, a pre-war (late 1930s) train-to-boat passage that took the refugees from Nazi Germany to England, where they were assigned foster parents. Director Mark Jonathan Harris (he directed the Oscar-winning documentary The Long Way Home) assembles archival footage to demonstrate the political-moral complacency of the times. The British government relaxed its immigration laws to admit children under the age of 17 but refused to let in adults, feeling that would be a threat to the country's economic balance. America's politicians, on the other hand, argued that "to take children without their parents would be contrary to God."

On camera, the kinder refugees recall the bittersweet trials of leaving their parents behind, the hard adjustments to a new life and family, the constant struggle to stay in contact with their parents (many of who were deported to Auschwitz, where they perished) and their reconciliations after the war. Produced by Deborah Oppenheimer, who does The Drew Carey Show, the film constitutes a fond remembrance of Oppenheimer's mother, who was saved by the kindertransport. It can be languorous in development at times, but Into the Arms of Strangers is an affecting triumph. Screens Thursday, September 14th at 11:30 a.m. and 2 and 4:30 p.m.

-- Tom Meek

Film Festival Feature Films

Shadow of the Vampire | Songcatcher | Venus Beauty Institute | What's Cooking? | The Broken Hearts Club | Envy | Goya in Bordeaux | Human Resources | Skipped Parts | Amargosa | Henry Hill | Relative Values | The Rising Place | The Contender | Pitch People | Roof to Roof | Four Dogs Playing Poker | Reckless Indifference | Requiem for a Dream | Shadow Magic | About Adam | Charming Billy | Enemies of Laughter | Into the Arms of Strangers | Running on the Sun | A Trial in Prague | Harry, He's Here to Help | A Man is Mostly Water | Seven Girlfriends

Also, Boston Film Festival short films

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