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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb!, 10 Mar 2013
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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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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 3 Apr 2013 10:20:35 BDT
Average Joe says:
I can't help but agree with "Pip" that too much of the plot was revealed in this review. I saw the film and also gave it 5 stars.

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Apr 2013 11:19:56 BDT
Last edited by the author on 3 Apr 2013 13:56:25 BDT
That's why there's a warning!

Posted on 10 Oct 2013 15:11:35 BDT
Rommel says:
Its a bit old hat knocking N.S. Germany, now especially as the 4.5 Jew's in Hitlers sphere of influence 4.3 million lodged compensation claims against the post war German Government, its just meaningless propaganda used to aid social cohesion and to justify a needles War Germany did not want!. War is ghastly full stop for every photo of a suffering Jew, probably mocked up in photo shop? i could show you one equally as harrowing of someone else, a German child perhaps burnt to a crisp by the allied terror bombing. There all abstract concepts!

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Oct 2013 18:41:31 BDT
[Deleted by the author on 18 Oct 2013 18:41:53 BDT]
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