The Tin Drum

  • 1979
  • Movie
  • R
  • Drama, War

Winner of the Academy Award for Best Foreign-Language Film and cowinner (along with APOCALYPSE NOW) of the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival, THE TIN DRUM is a startlingly successful realization of an "unfilmable" novel by Gunter Grass, the leading German practitioner of magical realism. Oskar (David Bennent), born to a German rural family in the 1920s,...read more

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Winner of the Academy Award for Best Foreign-Language Film and cowinner (along with APOCALYPSE NOW) of the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival, THE TIN DRUM is a startlingly successful realization of an "unfilmable" novel by Gunter Grass, the leading German practitioner of magical

realism.

Oskar (David Bennent), born to a German rural family in the 1920s, becomes disgusted with the behavior of adults and decides, on his third birthday, not to grow any more, preferring instead to beat his tin drum (a birthday present) and shatter glass with his shrill scream. As he "ages," little

Oskar continues to observe the hypocritical behavior of adults, beating out a constant tattoo on his tin drum to control the world around him. His small stature also makes for a very peculiar relationship with a teenage girl, Maria (Katharina Thalbach), who is also mistress to a much older, and

bigger, man. THE TIN DRUM is a disturbing film, rich with black humor, that takes a decidedly bitter and horrific look at the German people. Director Volker Schlondorff brilliantly translates Grass' allegorical treatment of the rise of Nazism and manages to suggest much of the novelist's complex

critique of German notions of history. Only Oskar, in his singularly demented way, is the voice of reason, proclaiming, "Once there was a credulous people who believed in Santa Claus, but Santa Claus turned out to be the gas man." The film is often difficult to watch and downright frightening,

especially due to the haunting face of 12-year-old actor Bennent.

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  • Released: 1979
  • Rating: R
  • Review: Winner of the Academy Award for Best Foreign-Language Film and cowinner (along with APOCALYPSE NOW) of the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival, THE TIN DRUM is a startlingly successful realization of an "unfilmable" novel by Gunter Grass, the leading Ger… (more)

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