15 jul. 2013

My Review: Lore (8/10)

"When your life is a lie, who can you trust?"

Lore is an Australian film set in Germany during the end of World War II. Director, Cate Shortland, shows the devastation and effects of the war through the eyes of a young girl whose inner war has just begun. The film isn't as much a tale of survival as it is the loss of innocence and having to pay for the sins of their fathers. It is a captivating character study of a young girl's sudden transformation from childhood to adulthood due to the horrors and challenges she is forced to face. The imagery is shocking and so are the performance from these young actors. Saskia Rosendahl is breathtaking in the lead role and should have a brilliant future ahead of her. The story isn't fun or entertaining, but it is a good and powerful one. One that leaves you thinking about several issues long after the end credits roll. I have seen many films focusing on World War II and the horrible traumas that the Jews have faced, but never had I stopped to think about what might have happened to the children of Nazi Generals and soldiers. The film enlightens us as we experience this young girl's eye-opening journey as she discovers that everything that her parents have taught her has been a lie.

World War II is over and the allies have taken over Germany. Nazi General (Hans-Jochen Wagner) has returned home to get his wife (Ursina Lardi) and five children and send them to a rural area where they can hide. After a few days the parents are charged for their crimes and the five children are left on their own. It is up to the oldest, Lore (Saskia Rosendahl), to take her siblings across Germany to Hamburg where their grandmother lives. She is forced to look after  her younger sister Liesel (Nele Trebs), her twin brothers Gunter and Jurgen, and baby Peter. With hardly any money and no means of transportation they have to cross through dangerous territory while at the same time discovering that what their parents were fighting for was all based on hate and lies. Now the children have to pay for the sins of their parents while finding a means to survive. Along the way they find help from the least expected person, a young jewish man named Thomas who claims to have survived the deadly prison camps.

This film wasn't nominated for best foreign film in last year's Academy Award, but after seeing some of the nominated films I have to disagree with their choice. This film is much better than Amour and War Witch and should have been nominated at least. I know it isn't an entertaining movie, but it is a powerful story with a great lesson. You can't look at this film as simply a survival story because if you do so you will be disappointed with the ending, but if you understand where these kids are coming from and how their world of privilege and comfort begins to unravel and shatter before their very eyes you will be satisfied with the way Shortland decided to end this film based on Rachel Seiffert's novel, "The Dark Room." Lore is a disturbing but touching film and one that's worth watching. It's also good to see a strong female protagonist in the lead role.

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