The tragically short life of German Jewish artist Charlotte Salomon and her remarkable body of autobiographical work are honoured in this expressively animated, deeply felt biopic helmed by Eric Warin and Tahir Rana.
Growing up in Berlin in the 1930s, Charlotte (voiced by Keira Knightley) has already demonstrated her artistic promise and anti-authoritarian leanings by the time she’s turned 16. However, the Nazi’s rise to power sees the Jewish girl expelled from the Art Academy and precipitates the end of her affair with an older man. Escaping to France in 1938, she’s reunited with her maternal grandparents (Jim Broadbent and Brenda Bleythyn) and discovers that depression courses through her bloodlines. With global conflict looming and her family imploding, Charlotte makes the most of her fleeting freedom, creating a sequence of hundreds of autobiographical gouaches that will come to be her still-revered masterpiece Life? Or Theatre?
Despite the hardship and persecution endured by its namesake, Charlotte serves as an inspirational testament to what can be achieved if one is able to live and create as if there was no tomorrow.