You have to admire Amma Asante for Where Hands Touch, which finds the never-told story of a mixed-race girl in Nazi Berlin and creates a ripe, emotional drama out of new cliches.
We’ve certainly seen all this before – but never from a black, female perspective. so this is a vital addition to the genre, told with sensitivity and appealing skill.
Amandla Stenberg, so good in The Hate U Give recently, is magnetically watchable here, as Lena Schlegel, who never knew her father but has been brought up by her German mother but is now starting to feel her ‘otherness’ amid the rising fervour of Nazi nationalism.
As Jews are being rounded up and beaten and the Hitler youth are tutoring the next generation, Lena catches the eye of a handsome young Nazi (George Mackay) whose Dad is a camp commandant.
Ok, this is a little far-fetched on paper, a can play as unlikely, impossible, even ridiculous and clumsy in its West Side Story, Romeo and Juliet way… And yet Asante’s conviction to the story and the autheniticity of the performance makes you go with it, even when he quote Billie Holliday lyrics to her – let’s call a heart a heart, indeed…