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By Phil Hall | February 16, 2013

Co Hoedeman, the Dutch-born Canadian animator who is best known for his Academy Award-winning short “The Sand Castle,” brings uncommon sensitivity to this adaptation of the Marie Jacobs poem on survival during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands.

During the winter of 1944-1945, wartime conditions for the Dutch people became harrowing due to Nazi controls on the nation’s food supplies. With supplies growing scarce, four women who share a home decide to use the wool from a treasured bedspread to barter for food. The women carefully unravel the bedspread and knit wool socks, resulting in 54 pairs plus an extra sock without a wooly mate. One of the women carefully packs the socks in a basket and bicycles into the rural village, hoping to locate a farm where she can trade her footwear for fresh food.

Hoedeman’s screenplay and direction resonate with a calm yet steely beauty, brilliantly matching the emotional drama of the resourceful women who calmly survey their difficult circumstances and resolve to overcome adversity with dignity and grace. “55 Socks” encompasses the most harrowing vices and the most invigorating virtues of the human spirit – which is no mean feat, considering the film runs less than nine minutes.

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