The Childhood of a Leader ★★★★

There's a haunting strangeness to this film which can be compelling, even if it moves down many different narrative byways that it has no intention of providing closure for, except in the sense that European fascism can step into that void. Much of the film presents a young boy (fantastic work by this actor, Tom Cross) living in a rustic French manor with his imperious mother and often absent American diplomat father. The film is structured by the child's tantrums, as he comes to gain some control over his situation, not to mention his education. State institutions provide no support, so the hint is the inexorable slide of this child towards the fevered finale. Technical credits must not be overlooked: this film would be little without its beautiful cinematography, careful sound design and gargantuan Scott Walker score. Not for all tastes, though, one imagines.