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How I taught myself to be a child

I’m still struggling to process this one fully. It promotes itself as an Austrian magic realist comedy, which i guess is what it is. Set in 1959, it’s about Paul Slberstein, son of a Jewish patriarch who has converted to Catholicism and sent him to a repressive religious school.

Paul looks and acts like one of Picasso’s young pierrots whose head is the wrong age for the rest of his body. In one not untypical scene he spontaneously dances with his mother before going on to other things.

Generally left to his devices, Paul gives reign to his own fantasy, so it’s sometimes hard to tell whether a scene is strictly speaking true (whatever that means in a work of fiction). The film culminates with Paul as a circus ringmaster with drawn on moustache introducing cancanning nuns, a human cannonball and other things which were so wild that I’m not sure whether i was imagining it.

There’s a certain lack of structure and direction, which normally annoys me but this time I was prepared to go with the flow. Just the sort of film to see after a busy week when your mind doesn’t want to try to make sense of what is happening

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