The Poll Diaries (2010)

Description: "In the summer of 1914, thirteen-year-old Oda Schaefer (Paula Beer) leaves Berlin to join her family and an assortment of German and Russian aristocrats on an estate in Estonia. The Schaefer family home is a character in its own right, a hulking, neoclassical manor that hovers on stilts above the sea. Oda arrives there bearing her mother’s coffin and a gift requested by her surgeon father: a jarred, two-headed fetus to add to his laboratory of gruesome curiosities.
Ebbo Schaefer (Edgar Selge) sees himself in his daughter when she calmly and expertly learns to suture the corpse of a cat. What he fails to recognize – and what Oda luckily understands – is that their interest in science is their only similarity. His dedication to experimentation is linked to an appalling obsession with power and destruction, while Oda is genuinely curious about life. Her quick, quiet intelligence complements her humanity and her lucid understanding of right and wrong. When she strays from a family picnic and discovers a badly wounded Estonian anarchist, she helps him without a second thought, smuggling him into her father’s lab and putting her new surgical skills to good use. As their illicit friendship deepens, family turmoil escalates and war closes in. The safe haven of the community collapses, forcing Oda’s family to make impossible choices.
Shot in rich, muted tones and sharp shadows, The Poll Diaries is historical drama at its finest. Posing a range of ethical questions, the film offers a compelling commentary on a morally bankrupt brand of reasoning that would come to underlie some of the greatest tragedies of the twentieth century."
[written by Cameron Bailey, tiff]

[German with English subtitles]

This film made its debut at the Toronto Film Festival in September 2010.
Not sure of its current availability on DVD or Netflix...

Thanks to a fellow movie fan for mentioning this film!


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