Wunderkinder (2011) MIFF Film Review


Set in Ukraine in 1941, Wunderkinder tells the story of three musical prodigies who become friends – two Ukrainian Jewish children and the daughter of a German industrialist. When Germany attacks Ukraine, the children are forced to recognise their differences and try to save each other.

It is a beautiful film, superbly acted, showing the gorgeous countryside of Ukraine. This is contrasted with the cruelty of war. One thing I liked about this was it showed that the cruelty was not one-sided. As an audience to many Holocaust films, it is quite unusual to be seeing blond-hair, blue-eyed Germans as victims, even for a short while.

Perhaps I have seen too many films of this genre. For, whilst I enjoyed the film, I didn’t feel it really brought anything new to the genre. The bad guys were not as bad as the bad guys in other films, the children not as engaging. It was lovely to have such beautiful music on the soundtrack, but even this is not an original concept in a holocaust film.

It is part of the Next Gen section, which is made up of films for a younger audience. If I were younger and had not seen and read so much on the Holocaust, I think I would have appreciated it a lot more. For me, it was a film worth seeing, but not groundbreaking, but perhaps it will be groundbreaking for future generations.