About the film
Release Date: Apr 11, 2019
Director: Amma Asante
Actors: Abbie Cornish, Amandla Stenberg, George MacKayThis is the fourth movie by Amma Asante, a black British female director. Two others were Belle (2013) and A United Kingdom (2016), both of which were highly acclaimed. In Where Hands Touch, she offers a sensitive star-crossed love story about a secret affair between a black German teenager and a member of the Hitler Youth.
It’s 1944 in Rhineland and Leyna (Amandla Stenberg – that face) is the only black daughter of Kristen (Abbie Cornish with strange eyebrows) a young woman, who doesn’t blend in easily as the Nazi regime begins to ramp up its Aryan-power intentions. (During this era, multiracial children were known as the “Rhineland bastards,” and they were persecuted with a push for obligatory sterilization to keep German bloodlines “pure”).
Leyna doesn’t know the whole story about how her mother fell in love with an African soldier during World War I, but she refuses to see herself as anything other than German. Leyna meets Lutz (George MacKay), the son of a prominent high-up SS official (Christopher Eccleston) and a member of the Hitler Youth. Adoring her from afar at first, eventually the two fall deeply in love, ignoring the clearly huge obstacles including political positions, race, parents and the war itself, as only teenagers can. Now Leyna believes that she is just as German as anyone else, but we all know that’s not the case. A series of tragic events follow and the relationships are tested in the most extreme of circumstances. There is love in spite of race.
This film is filled with seasoned actors, Abbie Cornish is particular showcases her true talent and range here. This is essentially a love story – albeit a heartbreaking one. A coming of age story set in the most brutal times.