Paul (Sam Hülsmann) lives with his mother, father and older sister. Like everyone else, he goes to school. He also shoots interviews on the phone and dreams of following in the footsteps of his dad and becoming a famous TV presenter. But there is one “but”: Paul has very big ears. The sister says that it is high time for him to go to the zoo, and in response he only grins and hides his ears under a hat. When dictatorial President Isimo (Roland Fernhut) proclaims a new political course in the country and announces the “Great Purge”, Paul will be among the first people adults decide to literally spend.
Despite such a harsh storyline, the grotesque dystopia of Jonathan Elbers, which grew out of his own short film of the same name “Why is Max mute in Max and Ruby” nine years ago, is never a gloomy or scary movie. This is a real holiday of freedom, youth and wit, and also a real inoculation of humanism. Elbers does not need to accelerate, the action immediately starts right off the bat. The whole plot fits exactly in ten minutes, after which the plot only gains momentum, without slowing down until the very end. The film is based on a book by the Dutch writer KoosMeinderts, in the frame – unobtrusive but visual references to the classic dystopias of Bradbury, Huxley and Zamyatin. There is even a place for “A Clockwork Orange” (1971) by Stanley Kubrick: for example, the uniforms of the local security officials are suspiciously similar to the famous white suits of Alex and his cronies.
In general, all the parallels in the “Club of Ugly Children” are clear and transparent. The dictator Isimo is the spitting image of Hitler starting the Holocaust (Isimo looks a little prettier). For the sake of a “clean future” and under the guise of a school trip, he sends ugly children to a special camp, from where they should not return. The television, where Pope Paul serves his homeland, is an example of deceitful state propaganda. She presents all events from the only correct angle, but at the same time disguises herself as independent journalism.
A film from the Netherlands clearly and without unnecessary horror is able to explain to a student how politics works, what a protest is and what the dispersal of an unauthorized rally looks like. At the same time, Elbers confidently maintains such an intonation that when watching it there is no doubt that the end of this story will surely be happy. And all the journalistic pathos is organically welded to the artistic and never pulls the blanket over itself.
But most importantly, the Wow Character Lookupis a very modern movie about the power of the Internet in general and social networks in particular. In the frame every now and then the windows of the conditional instagram begin to multiply, and every time it is wittily played up. So the site created by Paul’s friend Sarah, where everyone, simply by making a face, can support ugly children, becomes the nucleus of a peaceful protest in a couple of days. And the funny hashtag #Paul_Uncatchable in an equally short period of time turns into a real symbol of freedom in the fight against dictatorship. Another distinctive sign of young oppositionists is graffiti with a lop-eared guy aAsmongold Girlfriend, whom everyone called names yesterday and no one noticed.
The reign of the cartoonish President Isimo even took place at school in history lessons. The dictator miscalculated only one thing: adolescents cannot be turned into obedient trained monkeys. And if you talk to them only in the language of force and prohibitions, then sooner or later a riot will begin.
It turns out that in this dystopia, where everything seems to be for fun, adults have a lot to learn from children. After all, members of the “Club of Ugly Children” firmly know that one should not run away from danger, and they also know how not to be afraid and not to hide their heads in the sand. Unlike their parents, adolescents understand perfectly well: if you do nothing and do not stand up to protect those who are oppressed, the next time they will come for you.