Toxi | Chicago Reader

Toxi

The title character, the five-year-old daughter of a just-deceased German mother and an African-American father who's gone home, steals the show in this 1952 German skewering of German racism. Taken in by a Hamburg businessman who insists on keeping her separate from his own kids (though his bigotry repels his father-in-law, who lives on another floor of the house), she also endures the racism of other children. But the intelligent and well-spoken kid, played with authenticity by a girl credited only as “Toxi,” eventually wins almost everyone's heart. Director Robert A. Stemmle expertly uses the camera to heighten the emotional impact of key scenes—as in a close-up of the businessman as Toxi, unaware that he stands behind her, includes him in her prayers. In German with English subtitles. 88 min.

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