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Film Review: My Neighbor Adolf
by Diana Schnelle

Leonid Prudovsky, Israel, Poland, Colombia 2022

Israeli director Leon Prudovsky takes on a tough challenge with the tragicomedy MY NEIGHBOR ADOLF, exploring the thoughts of a Holocaust survivor in the 1960s when a creepy German moves in next door.

Marek Polsky (David Hayman), in his 70s, lives alone in a desolate valley town somewhere in South America. The opening scene implies that he is the sole surviving member of his family after the Shoah. Now, he simply wants to be left alone to live out his life in the middle of nowhere.

But when the camera pans out, the audience sees one more ramshackle house in this valley, and it’s right next door to Polsky’s. When “Mr. Herzog” (Udo Kier) moves in there, Polsky is certain this new neighbor is none other than Adolf Hitler. Herzog’s peculiarly blue eyes, strange nightly visitors and constant shouting in German only strengthen Polsky’s suspicions. He embarks on an at-times hilarious mission to prove it. He goes to extremes to mount parallels between Hitler and the guy next door. When he tries to take his case to the police, they don’t take him seriously. So, he decides to befriend the enemy, in order to get the necessary proof.

Despite a few awkward moments when even the actors seem uncomfortable with the dialogue, the director Prudovsky accomplishes what he set out to do: treat painful topics with humor. There are a few bumps along the way. For one, the British actor David Hayman’s accent sometimes slips through what should sound Slavic. And some humorous moments are so politically incorrect that it’s uncomfortable. That’s to be expected. It’s worth giving the film a chance nonetheless, as it turns into the story of an odd friendship between two lonely people who discover that they have more in common than they first believe.