Review: ‘And Along Come Tourists’

Kevin J. Martin

Unresolved WWII guilt finds expression in earnest "And Along Come Tourists."

Unresolved WWII guilt finds expression and mixed blessings in earnest and average German meller “And Along Come Tourists.” Contempo yarn about a German youth who opts for a year of civil service at Auschwitz rather than a compulsory year in the army has an interesting premise but, despite some narrative ironies, never really bites. Pic could acquire Euro arthouse exposure, but this low-key effort would play better on television than the fest circuit.

At the time of his German national service, young Sven (Alexander Fehling) takes up a year’s engagement in Poland at a museum now situated at the notorious Nazi extermination camp. Chief among Sven’s duties is assisting a cantankerous, eightysomething Auschwitz survivor (Ryszard Ronczewski). Despite nationalistic tensions and post-Holocaust resentments that still run deep in the town, Sven begins a romance with local beauty Ania (Barbara Wysocka), but even love is not beyond the influence of the camp’s awful legacy. A coincidence-laden script fails to capitalize on powerful possibilities, and helming is strictly tubesville. Perfs are generally convincing, but confined by the limitations of helmer-scripter Robert Thalheim. Lensing has a bland look, but other credits are good quality.

And Along Come Tourists

Germany

Production

A Bavaria Film Intl. presentation of a 23/5 Filmproduction production, in co-production with ZDF Das Kleine Fernsehspiel, in association with Pictorion Pictures. (International sales: Bavaria Film Intl., Geiselgasteig, Germany.) Produced by Britta Knoller, Hans-Christian Schmid. Directed, written by Robert Thalheim.

Crew

Camera (color), Yoliswa Gartig; editor, Stefan Kobe; music, Anton K. Feist, Uwe Bossenz; production designer, Michal Galinski, Rita-Maria Hallekamp. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (Un Certain Regard), May 21, 2007. Original title: Am ende kommen touristien. German, Polish, English dialogue. Running time: 85 MIN.

With

Alexander Fehling, Ryszard Ronczewski, Barbara Wysocka.

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