The Tin Drum (1979)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Childhood Drama, Political Drama, Period Film  |   Run Time - 142 min.  |   Countries - Germany , France , Poland   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Lucia Bozzola

The first German film to win the Best Foreign Film Oscar, New German Cinema forefather Volker Schlöndorff's adaptation of The Tin Drum is a potent Fellini-esque epic of intuitive rebellion against a corrupt world. Shot on location in Poland, Germany, and France, the film mixes the palpable reality of ordinary life in prewar and World War II Danzig with the surreal, innocent perspective of stunted boy/man Oskar as he raises instinctive hell against the horrors he witnesses, first in his family and then as the Nazis take over his hometown. Reaching the heights of comedy in a chaotic Nazi rally and the depths of tragedy during the Danzig post-office siege, Oskar's incessant drum-beating and glass-shattering shriek become a powerful, if futile, protest. Twelve-year-old neophyte David Bennent, cast partly for his striking eyes, anchors a superb German cast, while such memorable images as a lone matriarch, grotesque eels, and a midget circus act underscore a society unhinged. Co-winner of Cannes' Palme d'Or (with, appropriately, Apocalypse Now [1979]), The Tin Drum became an international hit and a '90s target for censors in the U.S. Though his film covers only the first two-thirds of Günter Grass' novel, Schlöndorff has refrained from a Tin Drum 2.