Full Title = Life Is Strange: “There was a time when they were children too…”
First time filmmaker Isaac Hertz has admirable intentions in Life Is Strange. He sets out to record interviews with Holocaust survivors–all now very elderly–in order to preserve their words for new generations.
Very admirable, but unfortunately this is cinematic landscape is already so well-covered (with both documentaries & feature films) that it’s hard to know exactly what Hertz intended to add beyond the obvious, namely interviews with survivors with whom he is personally acquainted &/or survivors who he might not have known before but wanted to meet while he still had time to do so.
Hertz thinks he has a hook: he begins by asking all of the survivors about their memories of childhood, never mentioning until midway through the film that the private worlds his genial subjects describe will soon come to abrupt & terrifying ends.
To accomplish this, he has a youngster do all the narration (obviously in a child’s voice), introducing us to the survivors as old people with magical memories. I wish I could say it was charming, but it’s not. It feels forced & even somewhat duplicitous–almost as if the narrator was finding wolf after wolf hidden in the clothing of seemingly ordinary grandmothers & grandfathers.
The interviews (set in the 21st Century) are mixed with grainy archival film from the 30s & 40s– much of it generic & punctuated with very familiar Holocaust footage that has no specific relationship to any of the subjects of the film itself.
And under the voices is a saccharine soundtrack by Jean-Michel Guirao–icing on a cake that was already way too sweet already.
I realize that imagery that is already familiar to me may well be new to others, & I do think it is important that children learn about the Holocaust. But regretfully I cannot recommend Life Is Strange. (JLH: 2.5/5)
Not yet seen by Rich.
Photo Credit: Lookback Productions