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Film Review: Charlotte

From the studio that brought us Loving Vincent is Charlotte, an animated film that gives an insight into the life of painter Charlotte Salomon, the suffering and flights for survival that permitted her to keep painting during the Second World War, as a young German-Jewish artist. Directed by Tahir Rana and Éric Warin, it’s a stunningly cinematic film that indulges in the style of Charlotte’s work and the vibrancy and passion in which her artwork was created.  

An animated drama that tells the true story of Charlotte Salomon, Charlotte has many elements going for it aside from the insightful story. Similar to Loving Vincent, the film encapsulates the talents of the powerfully imaginative artist, transitioning from one scene to the next using a mix of broad brushstrokes and vivid colouring. 

The story itself is beguiling with a first love that encourages her talent, but heightens her anger and frustration, in a world that immediately cuts off her options and limits her reality with the rise of anti-Semitic policies and violent destruction. Leaving Berlin for the safer South of France she is able to paint again, until all is unveiled within her family and a tragic secret is revealed, cutting her off from her creative freedom again. It’s a remarkable story and one which is told with a great deal of loyalty to the artist. With Keira Knightley giving voice to the character of Charlotte, there is a sense of rigidity to a character that paints with much expression. However, perhaps this portrayal is suitable considering the strain under the hateful regime and family turmoil.

Following Keira is a strong cast that includes Jim Broadbent, Eddie Marsan, Helen McCrory and Mark Strong, giving voice to the many intriguing people that had an affecting role in Charlotte Salomon’s life. Contemplating the dialogue of the film as abrupt and devoid of flow, perhaps Knightley is ideal for the voice; allowing the artwork of the animation to take front and centre. An exceptional piece of work to come from Rana and Warin, it’s worth a venture to cinema. 

CHARLOTTE will open in cinemas across the UK & Ireland from Friday 9th December

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