Image, like identity, is always coming into focus throughout Fugitive Pieces. Conventionally shot but artfully cut, Jeremy Podeswa’s film, based on a novel by Anne Michaels, toggles back and forth in time, homing in on the nervous psychological headspace of its main character, Jakob Beer, who escapes from the clutches of the Nazis during WWII with the help of a Greek gentleman and grows up to become a great writer. The film skimps on particulars, never delving into the nature and significance of Athos Roussos’s (Rade Sherbedgia) work and reducing everyone to a victim of sorts, but it shows profound insight into how people and relationships are shaped by tragedy. As a child, Jakob (Robbie Kay) witnesses his mother and father murdered from a nook behind his family’s kitchen wall, and after burying himself in the woods he is saved by Athos and taken away from Poland. A mental ritual is set into motion, and for the rest of his days the older Jakob (Stephen Dillane) will be haunted by ghosts, namely the image of his ostensibly dead sister Bella. The film’s nervy montage is deeply keyed to Jakob’s particular madness, and it is such that a lemon is just as likely to evoke a happy memory of the man’s dead mother as a photo of, say, a mountain of shoes will stir a recollection of something far more sinister. “To live with ghosts requires solitude,” Jakob writes, but to love someone who lives with ghosts also requires solitude, and if Fugitive Pieces is not as lyrical as Golden Door, it is still special for acknowledging that fugitives who’ve survived great tragedy are driven by unique obsessions and needs that sometimes strand them from the world of the living.
- Samuel Goldwyn Films
- 105 min
- Jeremy Podeswa
- Jeremy Podeswa
- Stephen Dillane, Rade Sherbedgia, Rosamund Pike, Ayelet Zurer, Robbie Kay, Ed Stoppard, Rachelle Lefevre, Nina Dobrev, Themis Bazaka, Diego Matamoros, Sarah Orenstein, Larissa Laskin, Daniel Kash, Yorgos Karamichos, Danae Skiadi
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