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It's an auto-biographical work by the Dutch director, Jeroen Krabbe. Film critics from major daily newspapers reviewed it, and the film had only a limited American release, perhaps because of the controversial nature of the film.
He recalls his first homoerotic friendship in a series of flash backs. The flashbacks take place in the Netherlands at almost the end of W.W.II. The Allies arrive and Jeroen and Walt meet and enter into a relationship between a man and a boy. The subject is handled with a openness and truth which could never be handled as subject matter in most countries
Part of this film is in Dutch, with English subtitles, however, a good part of this movie is in English with no subtitles.
Again, this is a touchy subject matter that is handled very well.
Those things said, there is nothing particularly excellent about this movie. It is touching, nostalgic, and truthful, but it is none of these things to the point of truly affecting your heart. Part of the reason is that it's too short, another part is that the ambiance (editing/music/so forth) are not very well done, and another part may be simply that I had read so many extremely complimentary reviews that my expectations were just too high.
It's a nice movie... but don't expect a masterpiece.
I couldn't, and no matter how hard I try, can't distinguish the soldier's behaviour towards the boy from pure self-gratification - an exercise in narcissism, projected from 1st person to 3rd.
The boy's regard for the soldier, I suspect would be entirely familiar to any boy who ever had a crush on an adult.
I found it a thought provoking movie, because it used the cinematic conventions of a love story to tell a story about neediness. Sure, neediness is necessary to love, but sufficient? Hardly.
I don't have a problem with a movie portraying sexual exploitation, but felt uneasy that the treatment here skirted perilously close to sanctification and propagandisation. It was certainly not 'portrayal' in any way I could make sense of.
It has an uneasy resonance, for me, with a strong tendency in the community of men who exploit boys: they mistake the undoubted readiness of certain boys to form attachments, and their curiosity about sexual development, for love and/or sexual desire. I believe this impression is largely formed and reinforced by powerful expressions, like this movie. The problem is that such expressions almost certainly represent the wishful thinking of adults, rather than the authentic experience of kids.
Even when the story is autobiographical, as I believe this to be*, it makes sense to me that the dishonesty could represent a sexualised variation on the self-replicating damage we see in schools and military institutions, where each incoming group "grows up" from being exploited and abused to perpetrate the same on the next intake. There's some sort of "empathy bypass" which seems to be inherent to the mechanism.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Loosely based on a true story, the coming-of-age of a lonely Dutch boy during World War II is painful to watch at best. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Darryll W. Charley
The ostensibly "tender" portrayal of a 12-year-old boy's (Jeroem) sexual relationship with a Canadian soldier (Walt) in World War II. Read morePublished on Jan. 4 2004 by S. Carter
Oh, my. What to say about this movie? It is, after all, about a young man having sex with a 12-year-old boy.
First, the easy part . . . . Read more
At the beginning of the story the boy (main character) seems to be very quiet, until he met the soldier from Canada, Walt, then he started to be more happy and during the time that... Read morePublished on Oct. 8 2003
For A Lost Soldier is my Gold Standard for Coming-of-Age films. The enduring theme here is one of love, and there is a lot of it. Read morePublished on Jan. 19 2003 by Patricio Duran