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When Oskar Matzerath (the extraordinary David Bennent, just twelve at the time) receives a tin drum for his third birthday, he vows to stop growing there and then – and woe betide anyone who tries to take his beloved drum away from him, as he has a banshee shriek that can shatter glass. As a result, he retains a permanent child’s-eye perspective on the rise of Nazism as experienced through petit-bourgeois life in his native Danzig, the ‘free city’ claimed by both Germany and Poland whose invasion in 1939 helped kick-start World War II. With the help of Luis Buñuel’s favourite screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière, director Volker Schlöndorff turns Günter Grass’s magical-realist masterpiece into a carnivalesque frenzy of bizarre, grotesque yet unnervingly compelling images as Oskar turns his increasingly jaded eye and caustic tongue on the insane follies of the adult world that he refuses to join.
Arrow Academy presents Volker Schlöndorff’s masterpiece in its original theatrical version and the Director’s Cut, seen for the first time in the UK after its Cannes Film Festival premiere.