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TIFF 2021: “Charlotte”

© Charlotte Productions Inc. © Stichting Charlotte Salomon

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

War has never been kind to anyone, especially during WWII, when it viciously claimed the lives of millions of Jews. Every time when I promise myself to stay away from such a premise, I, again, do not fulfil it.

Based on true events, “Charlotte” follows the titular character, Charlotte Solomon, an enigmatic, extremely talented Jewish painter from Germany. The animated film provides a rich story of her unfortunately short life which will result in more than thousands of paintings she drew, sketching them out of memory.

Charlotte was born in a wealthy but troubled family that never stopped fighting demons. Suicide was an epidemic in their family, her grandfather would often wonder too when it’s Charlotte’s turn to take her own life. But Charlotte, as we learn, was stronger than that. As we meet her as a child, then adolescence, youth and adulthood, the film paints an image of a very determined young woman who thought living in a garden can rescue her from the Nazis.

The remarkable true story voiced by Keira Knightley as Charlotte and Marion Cotillard in French, the film offers vivid colours and a sublime look into the fascinating artist whose life was cut short. Living in very difficult times, Charlotte knew she was running out of time. Therefore, she created paintings during the hardship, the time when her only focus was her past, family and the story she could not bear not revealing to the world.

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