Precocious I

film 3 of 6

It Happened Here

Draft Review by Dean Duncan Jun 16, 2015

Curious that with all the justifiable attention received by Battle of Algiers and the Watkins films, this contemporaneous piece which quite masterfully demonstrates similar approaches and excellencies seems to get no attention, I’m not sure of the motivation for it, though Sorrow and the Pity was being prepared at the same time on the same subject, and maybe anti-collaborationist smugness was coupled with neo-fascistic tendency all over Europe, but it’s interesting whatever the motivation was; it’s not immediately likeable, with a protagonist neither too attractive or too admirable, still that choice supports what’s being done here, nicely motivates the woman’s easy collaboration, devastatingly sets up the wages of her sins–the sneakily set up and chillingly paid off hospital execution; otherwise, there’s terrific newsreel recreation, admirable doc-style approximations, though the opening assurances that no stock footage was used sounds a bit like Queen’s early no-synth braggings (so what!?), and for all the authenticity, there’s some pretty dazzling stylization, exuberant hyper-cinematics that echoe virtues and limitations, virtues through limitations of the later, impoverished but still thrilling Welles