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BIRTH CERTIFICATE

Poland, 1961 (MIFF 1963)

Director: Stanislaw Rozewicz

The film is a trilogy of stories concerning ihe Second World War in Poland. Unlike many war films, this one deals in no heroics, but shows the war from the viewpoint of the children of Poland who found themselves involved in events beyond their understanding.

"On the Road," the first story, is about a small boy separated from his family by the confusion accompanying the early days of the German invasion. He wanders alone, eventually meeting a soldier who has become detached from his unit.

The second story is called "A Letter from a P.O.W." and deals with the efforts of an older boy to look after his brothers in a German-occupied town. The boys are continually reminded of their parents by the presence of a nearby prisoner-of-war camp.

It is from the ihird story that the film takes its title. A ten-year-old Jewish girl, lefl alone and destitute experiences that mixture of fear and intolerable boredom which her plight makes inevitable. Through subterfuge she enters a children's home, where, for a short time, she enjoys the happiness and company of other children. The ending is ironic.

Birth Certificate is a film strong in acting performances - the children in particular are completely convincing. Beautifully directed, it is a most moving, even harrowing, film. Award: Grand Prix, The Lion of St Mark, Venice Festival.

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© Melbourne International Film Festival 2013.

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