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34 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb!
Some plot detail in paras 1 & 2!

'Lore' tells the story of 15 year old Hannelore and her younger siblings, Liesel, Jurgen, Gunter and a baby-in-arms as they cross Germany from Bavaria to Hamburg in the immediate aftershocks of their country's defeat, searching for the home of their grandmother. Their father, clearly involved in the work of the einsatzgrupen,...
Published 16 months ago by S. J. Williams

versus
2.0 out of 5 stars Liked it but...
This is a conundrum...one I liked it - two, it was poorly directed. All close-ups and after about halftime I gave it up. And what was that about Australia on the front credits?
Published 11 days ago by J. A. Clark


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34 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb!, 10 Mar 2013
By 
S. J. Williams "stevejw2" (Leeds, West Yorkshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Lore [DVD] (DVD)
Some plot detail in paras 1 & 2!

'Lore' tells the story of 15 year old Hannelore and her younger siblings, Liesel, Jurgen, Gunter and a baby-in-arms as they cross Germany from Bavaria to Hamburg in the immediate aftershocks of their country's defeat, searching for the home of their grandmother. Their father, clearly involved in the work of the einsatzgrupen, extermination squads or camps, has disappeared, fleeing, one imagines, capture and retribution for the crimes he has committed: just before leaving he burns official Nazi documents which also suggest some involvement in the 'disposal' of 'mental defectives'. The mother, we gather, is complicit in some of these monstrosities as she leaves home to give herself up to the Americans: she leaves Lore with the children and the instruction to reach Hamburg, which is hundreds of miles away. During the journey they become reluctant companions of Thomas who bears a camp number on his wrist and ID cards: without their own, his documents and the story that they are one family represents a kind of lifeline to ease their passage through the chaos of their partitioned homeland. As a Nazi child, her acceptance of such a lie is traumatic.

The journey is a baptism of fire for Lore: she despises Jews and clearly wants nothing to do with any form of 'tainted' humanity. However, the journey imposes a slow, new and increasingly horrified awareness of the reality of Hitler's Germany. She meets no spontaneous kindness or generosity and is forced to adopt increasingly feral tactics to enable her own and her family's survival. She almost breaks completely in the face of some of her actions. Her desire for warmth, developing sexual awareness and simple dependence draw her into a connection with Thomas which is highly conflicted. She struggles to find the resources both to survive and come to terms with a world and perceptions which have been turned upside down. Nor is she alone in this: the adults with whom she comes into contact generally cling to the view that the war has been lost through betrayal of the Fuhrer; the revelations from the camps are a mere propaganda device!

There isn't a weak link in the cast, but the central performance of Saskia Rosendahl, only 17 herself, has to be highlighted: she is utterly convincing as she struggles more and more to make sense of the world in which she finds herself. This is also reflected in the way the narrative is managed in the film: exposition is sketchy throughout and we share her uncertainty about what is going on. We have to infer a great deal, and at times we simply do not know why something has happened, most crucially regarding Thomas's fate: this places us close to Lore's fraught and bewildered perceptions and her sense of loss.

The (largely) hand-held camera work also encourages the viewer's sense of seeing through the eyes of the characters. And the camera provides one of the great triumphs of the piece: this is generally not a trek through a scorched and bloodied earth. The wasteland the characters traverse is in many ways largely psychological, perhaps all the more ironically potent in the context of the often stunning scenery through which the characters move.

This is such a cinematically unrepresented area, at least in my experience, that this film makes a particular impact. The film offers no easy answers for the future of the characters: in an emblematic mealtime scene at the end it is plainly clear that Lore cannot tolerate the fiction that life as it was before can be seemlessly restored. Whether Lore can emerge from the trauma she has experienced is not made clear, a decision which further contributes to this being really assured and grown up film-making which eschews easy answers because in the real world, consolation is not always so easily accessible! A terrible journey of reappraisal is clearly imminent. A great movie.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Now read the book, 24 Mar 2013
By 
J. TULLOCH (Edinburgh UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Lore [DVD] (DVD)
Just a note to add to the two previous reviews, in that this powerful film is based on the middle story within a book by Rachel Seiffert which is called 'The Dark Room.' All the stories in her novel deal with the pressures and complexities of this period of German history and of its affect on her different characters. This series of time-linked stories is well written and perhaps we may get another film from it!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tense and authentic, 10 Mar 2014
By 
Peter of SE7 (London, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Lore (DVD)
A tale of the end of innocence, at the time when innocence itself was shattered - the collapse of the Nazi regime, and a time when much of Europe was on the move. I suppose it's a metaphor as old as storytelling itself - the outer journey influencing the inner - but this is done very well, with very good performances from the children, and especially Rosendahl. The decision to make the film in German was spot-on ("The Reader" was spoiled for me by not doing that), and very little about this intense and well-conceived film rings false.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Harrowing story, wonderfully acted, wonderfully directed., 25 Nov 2013
By 
This review is from: Lore [DVD] (DVD)
This film does exactly what a film should do: it tells a story worth telling, in images and episodes. The horrors of Germany 1945 are made plastic not by showing them all by giving us a few harrowing examples. This is a coming-of-age film, in spite of the unusual context: Lore loves her father above all but in the course of their long journey is gradually forced to come to terms with his evil past (which is not disclosed in detail). And when she finally reaches journey's end, the confrontation with her grandmother illustrates the kind of family background which facilitated the descent in to the evils of the Third Reich. There is unlikely to be a good outcome for Lore herself but through her courage and persistence, she has probably succeeded in 'rescuing' those of the children who survive the trip. Her parents are off-stage but they are not dead, so sooner or later she is going to have to confront them personally.

Cate Shortland makes her points considerably better than the book, Rachael Seiffert's 'The Dark Room'. See my book review. And I cannot at all agree that the film is over-long, or that it has all been done before, except in the trivial sense that everything has always been done before. One needs a certain length to convey a sense of the difficulties of the children's journey, and the developmental processes they are going through in the course of that journey.

Well worth watching, even if it is hardly an evening of easy-going entertainment.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How nature overturns our contrivances, 26 Sep 2013
This review is from: Lore [DVD] (DVD)
A beautiful film about how nature eventually overturns all our human contrivances.

We meet Lore (Saskia Rosendahl) and her family in the immediate aftermath of the Nazi capitulation in 1945: Mutti und Vati (German for Mummy and Daddy, though curiously not so translated in the subtitles) are SS functionaries based in Munich who have realised that the game - and quite possibly their number - is up. They hastily pack trunks, burn incriminating evidence, shoot the dog and flee in a canvas covered truck to a safe house in the depths of the Bavarian black forest, but even there they cannot escape the American occupiers' tightening net.

Father (Hans-Jochen Wagner) is silently apprehended and eventually Mother (Ursina Lardi), an archetypal stiff, glacial Aryan, walks out of the woods to hand herself in. She coldly leaves Lore, a strikingly handsome girl of 15, to fend for the family, comprising; sister Liesel (Nele Trebs), twin 7 year-olds Günther (André Frid) and Jürgen (Mika Seidel) and baby Peter (Nick Holaschke). Mutti's parting instructions: head to your grandmother's house in Hamburg: we'll meet you there.

Hamburg is a long way from the Schwartzwald. In her face you can read that Mother doesn't believe they'll make it that far, and doesn't believe she will either. In her face you can read the end of days.

As the children of the deposed murderous elite the children find themselves unwelcome in their rural retreat. Lore packs some things and the children set out: at a basic level, the film becomes a post-apocalyptic road movie, as harrowing as Cormac McCarthy's The Road. The environment they traverse, in human terms, is blasted to hell, but nature is having her traditional ball: the countryside is in beautiful late summer bloom: Adam Arkapaw's luscious cinematography often pauses to observe the moss, mould spores, pollen, flies and ants, which settle, feast and propagate as happily on human remains and the detritus of conflict as readily as on any other flora or fauna.

The children are confronted with the residue, all around, of unspeakable and desperate acts; though, by and large, the survivors are now civil, but they are as untrusting of each other as they are of their American occupiers. The locals still harbour resentment for the Jews, as if they somehow asked for this to be brought on the German people. They are obliged to view photographs of Belsen and Auschwitz as they cue for food, but there is open disbelief at their legitimacy.

Lore is well-raised (in her Nazi household), is disgusted by the squalor and insists at first on cleanliness and orderliness. She is poised precisely on the brink of sexual maturity and is aware that this would have currency in the squalor, where her trinkets and keepsakes have little value. She is also aware in particular of a fellow traveller, Thomas (Kai-Peter Malina), who seems to be tracking the children, and Lore in particular, with nefarious intent. Circumstances throw them together: Thomas reveals himself to be of good intentions, but to Lore's initial horror, bears the tattoos and papers of an Auschwitz survivor.

Over this dilemma the film proceeds: this is Lore's coming of age, it is her revaluation of all values and a study in the triumph of nature - our nature, and nature red in tooth and claw - over the feeble contrivances of frail humans. It is starkly captured, often in extreme close-up and low light: there is a graininess to the film stock which supplements the gritty life of the characters. Saskia Rosendahl's debut performance is quite magnificent: magnetic and enigmatic, and a solid centre to this highly recommended film.

Especially recommended because, for all its apparent Europeanness, it is scripted and directed by Cate Shortland, an Australian. I sat through most of this film thinking, "why can't Anglo-Saxon directors make films like this?", so Shortland deserves special recognition for the authenticity of her vision. Clearly, they can.

Olly Buxton
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great film about an aspect of World War 2 which ..., 15 July 2014
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This review is from: Lore [DVD] (DVD)
Great film about an aspect of World War 2 which is generally forgotten. Excellent direction. The fact that there is very little dialogue is spot on and what there is, is just right. Though the subject is difficult, the scenes sometimes harrowing, it nevertheless leaves one somehow still and reflective at the end - there is hope, always.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Liked it but..., 12 July 2014
By 
J. A. Clark "jimmy clark" (London, W8 England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Lore (Blu-ray)
This is a conundrum...one I liked it - two, it was poorly directed. All close-ups and after about halftime I gave it up. And what was that about Australia on the front credits?
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5.0 out of 5 stars One excellent film! Well packaged and speedy delivery…definitely recommend, 6 July 2014
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One excellent film!
Well packaged and speedy delivery…definitely recommend, thank you 
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5.0 out of 5 stars just superb, 3 April 2014
This review is from: Lore (DVD)
that is a beautiful story, just left me wanting to follow them until they were all grown up. nicely filmed
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Psychological, mysterious, cinematographic and accomplished...", 16 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Lore [DVD] (DVD)
Australian screenwriter and director Cate Shortland`s second feature film which she co-wrote with British screenwriter Robin Mukherjee, is an adaptation of one out of three stories in a novel called "The Dark Room" from 2001 by English author Rachel Seiffert. It premiered at the 59th Sydney Film Festival in 2012, was screened in the Special Presentations section the 37th Toronto International Film Festival in 2012 and is a UK-Germany-Australia co-production which was shot on five locations in Germany and produced by producers Benny Drechel, Liz Watts, Paul Welsh and Karsten Stöter. It tells the story about a fourteen-year-old girl named Hannelore Dressler and her four younger siblings who lives in Germany in the mid-1940s with their mother Mutti and their father Vati who are Nazi sympathizers. After hearing an announcement on the radio about the death of Adolf Hitler, Vati and Mutti decides to turn themselves in to the allied forces and Mutti tells her eldest daughter that she has to escape with her siblings and find a way to get to Hamburg.

Distinctly and subtly directed by Australian filmmaker Cate Shortland who made her directorial debut "Somersault" (2004) eight years ago, this finely paced fictional tale which is narrated from multiple viewpoints though mostly from the protagonist`s point of view, draws an incisive and instantly intriguing portrayal of a refugee`s long journey with her sister and three brothers through a country stricken by poverty and chaos after the collapse of its fascist regime and her relationship with a young man named Thomas whom is also on the run. While notable for its naturalistic and poignantly atmospheric milieu depictions, masterful cinematography by cinematographer Adam Arkapaw, sterling production design by production designers Jochen Dehn and Silke Fischer, fine costume design by costume designer Stefanie Bieker and brilliant use of colors, this character-driven, narrative-driven and somewhat romantic voyage depicts an in-depth study of character and contains a great score by German-born British composer Max Richter.

This historic, humane, tangible and non-judgmental coming-of-age drama which was chosen as Australia`s official submission to the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film at the 85th Academy Awards in 2013 and where adulthood sneaks up on an adolescent girl and has her confronted with her inherent believes, examines themes like family relations, quilt, war, survival, national crises, sexual awakening and loss of innocence, is set in Germany during the end of the Second World War and is impelled and reinforced by its cogent narrative structure, substantial character development, esoteric characters, cinematic poetry and visual grace, fine editing by film editor Veronika Jenet, and the memorable acting performances by German actress Saskia Rosendahl in her debut feature film role and German actor Kai Malina. A psychological, mysterious, cinematographic and accomplished narrative feature where a period in time is credibly reinvented and historical events are placed into a context that envisages new perspectives.
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Lore [Blu-ray]
Lore [Blu-ray] by Cate Shortland (Blu-ray - 2013)
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