Criticizing When Day Breaks is akin to refusing to help a blind little old lady cross a busy intersection. You can’t help but feel bad. A glacially paced tale of recovered past and reconsidered identity, it wears a big, decent heart on its sleeve which director Goran Paskaljevic always keeps beating. The cast – a fabulous collection of arresting faces – is headed by Mustafa Nadarevic, playing an elderly music professor in Belgrade who, shortly after retiring as a choirmaster, discovers that he is, in fact, Jewish, the sole surviving son, in fact, of parents who perished in the Holocaust. He discovers, too, that his father was a talented musician as well, one who was writing a composition, unfinished at the time of his death, that the son 70 years later determines to complete and see performed. While Nadarevic and company are never less than soulful here, over all, When Day Breaks is brought down by predictability, sentimentality, an unrelenting earnestness and a too-schematic framework.
Sept. 9, 7 p.m., Scotiabank; Sept. 10, 4 p.m., AGO; Sept. 15, 10 a.m., Yonge & Dundas