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Charlotte

It means more that we love life than that life loves us.The tragically beautiful true story of Charlotte Salomon, a courageous young Jewish artist who paints every moment of her life in a Chagallish, raw, and surreal style that foreshadows the arrival of graphic novels. "True art reveals the chaos inside us," says Charlotte. Her whimsical and provocative paintings of Berlin in the 1930s, Southern France during World War II, and the people she encountered, help her come to terms with trauma in her life that includes suicide, Nazis, betrayal, violence, splendor, and love. Sad moments are more truthful for Charlotte than happy ones. The artwork helps settle her nerves.There is so much heartbreaking beauty in Charlotte that it is hard to know where to look; the luminous green necklace that she treasures from her mother, snowfall in Berlin that swirls through cruelty and fire, haunting premonitions, and more. Keira Knightley is the voice of the imaginative, insightful, and strong-willed Charlotte. Those who saw this film and rated it three and a half stars or less probably were looking for something else and did not appreciate the depth or how different it is from other World War II stories. I am mesmerized by this determined and insightful woman who lived life as best she could even with the viciousness and sadness whirling all around her, and despite knowing that it would consume her too sooner than later.Seen at the Toronto international film festival.