Run Boy Run (Lauf Junge Lauf)
Directed by Pepe Danquart
Ms. Hen stumbled onto this film because she watched the preview and it looked like something she would enjoy: a story of a young boy running from the Nazis in Poland during World War II. She tried to find reviews on Rotten Tomatoes after she watched the film, but there weren’t any critic reviews. She did find reviews, but they were all in foreign languages. She thought she needed to spread the word.
Srulik is a young boy who escapes from the Warsaw ghetto and into the countryside. In the beginning of the film, he is running through the forest in the snow, until he comes to a woman’s house who takes him in and gives him food and shelter for a short time. Ms. Hen was pleased because the woman told Srulik that the Nazis took everything except for a few chickens. The woman feeds him chicken soup and teaches him that he should tell people he is Catholic. She teaches him how to say prayers, Hail Mary and The Lord’s Prayer.
He leaves the woman’s house and travels around looking for food and work. Before he meets the woman, he comes in with a band of children in the forest who steal from farms. A great scene occurs when one of the children steals a chicken and when they go to cook it, they don’t pluck the chicken, they simply cover it with mud, then, when it is cooked, they peel the mud off and eat it. Ms. Hen thinks this is a clever way to cook a chicken, especially if the children are not expert chefs, but she’s not sure how tasty it would be.
Srulik has to hide who he is from everyone he meets. He becomes good at lying. The last time he saw his father, he told Srulik that whatever he did, he had to survive and his father told him to never forget he was a Jew.
The most heartbreaking part of the film is when Srulik gets his hand caught in a harvesting machine, and the people at the farm take him to the hospital, but when the doctor sees that he is a Jew (by looking at his circumcision) he refuses to operate, and Srulik is left in the hall. He eventually loses the bottom of his right arm. He has to learn to survive with one hand, but then he has to run again because the Nazis are after him.
Srulik runs, and he keeps on running. Ms. Hen wondering what someone would think of the situation who might not be well versed in history, such as a five year old, or an alien from a different planet. It’s ridiculous that grown men are chasing a young boy, who did nothing wrong; his only crime is religion. He’s an ordinary boy, and he loses his whole family and could easily die. Ms. Hen thinks sometimes it’s beneficial to step back and try to imagine what someone entirely innocent might think. The problem with history is that nobody seems to learn from it.
Ms. Hen enjoys watching films that make her angry. She thinks it’s cliché to say that something is a “triumph of the human spirit,” but that’s exactly what this film is. Srulik survived World War II, moved to Israel, got married, and had children and grandchildren. He wears a scar of his experiences on his arm, but he did what his father told him to do, he lived and he never forgot who he was.