Even in times of great ugliness, there is a part of us that strives to take hold onto whatever beauty we can. Charlotte is one of those stories. The people of Good Deed Entertainment have treated us to the trailer of Charlotte, as well as the synopsis below.
CHARLOTTE is an animated drama that tells the true story of Charlotte Salomon, a young German-Jewish painter who comes of age in Berlin on the eve of the Second World War. Fiercely imaginative and deeply gifted, she dreams of becoming an artist. Her first love applauds her talent, which emboldens her resolve. But the world around her is changing quickly and dangerously, limiting her options and derailing her dream. When anti-Semitic policies inspire violent mobs, she leaves Berlin for the safety of the South of France. There she begins to paint again, and finds new love. But her work is interrupted, this time by a family tragedy that reveals an even darker secret. Believing that only the extraordinary will save her, she embarks on the monumental adventure of painting her life story.
For telling the story of an artist, it is very fitting that her life be brought to life in animation. The real Charlotte Salomon is most famous for her series of autobiographical paintings Leben? oder Theater?: Ein Singspiel, which translates to Life? Or Theater?: A Song-play. The series spanned a total of 769 individual paintings from 1941 and 1943, while Salomon was hiding from the Nazis. Considering animation is achieved through thousands of drawings, it feels like the most appropriate approach to telling the story of her life.
The studio behind Charlotte is Good Deed Entertainment, who is no stranger to animation. The studio’s previous animated achievement was 2017’s Loving Vincent, which was achieved by animating 65,000 real oil paintings on canvas. But while Loving Vincent was more of an experimental film, Charlotte seems to be more of a true following of the artist’s life during her flight from Nazi clutches.
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Charlotte stars Keira Knightley (Pirates of the Caribbean) as the titular role. Joining her are Brenda Blethyn (2005’s Pride and Prejudice), Jim Broadbent (Paddington), Sam Claflin (The Hunger Games), Henry Czerny (The Boys of St. Vincent), Eddie Marsan (V for Vendetta), Helen McCrory (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince), Sophie Okonedo (Criminal Justice), and Mark Strong (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy). Charlotte is written by Erik Rutherford and David Bezmozgis. The two scored a nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay at the Canadian Screen Award in 2022. The film also won the Audience Award for Most Popular Film in the Music/Art/Design program at the 2021 Vancouver International Film Festival.
While period films centering around World War 2 and the horrific events that lead to it, it’s very obvious as to why these stories continue to be told. Their recounts carry with them priceless information, the raw feelings and records of what it was like living through such cruelty. While we like to claim that such tragedy and evil are behind us, we also live in a world where Maus is banned from a school curriculum, and there are conspiracies that claim those very survivors are lying through their teeth. It’s important to remember that when we see survival stories such as this, that these were real, breathing people that were just trying to survive. And in Charlotte Saloman’s case, she wanted to create something beautiful for the world, and utilized that to tell her story. Charlotte is coming to U.S. theaters in April 22, 2022.