Tuesday, August 14, 2012


World War Two and its aftermath feature in a lot of films, and just when you think that this is a subject you've watched thoroughly enough already, a film with a new slant comes along.

Lore is such a film. It's set in 1945 in Germany and its main character is Lore (short for Hannelore) who is a girl of fourteen or so. Her father is in the SS and from the contents of his bookshelves it would seem that he was deeply involved in the Third Reich's regime of oppression on racial and genetic grounds. We meet our characters in the family home in Berlin where her Father is burning the contents of the bookshelves and plotting to escape and her Mother is packing and organising the children (5 in all) to leave town.

Mother and the children evacuate to an isolated farmhouse in the forest and then  Mother sets off for civilisation to give herself up (we don't know what crimes she is guilty of - perhaps being complicit in those committed by her husband in the course of his job), leaving Lore in charge of her four siblings, the youngest of whom is only a baby and suggesting they make their way to Hamburg to be with their Grandmother, telling the younger children she will meet them there.

The film is the story of the journey. Most adults in 2012 would struggle  taking three children and a baby across Germany  mostly on foot, let alone in a newly occupied country with food shortages and a population on the move. That a teenager achieved it is nothing short of a miracle. She did have some help in the form of a guy a little older than herself, who is masquerading as a Jewish camp survivor. There's the beginnings of a romance there, but their circumstances and her prejudice prevent it flowering.

It's a bleak story and not one to see if you need cheering up. Watching it did mean I contemplated the suffering the war caused to Aryan Germans, particularly their children,  in a way I haven't done previously. Very well acted, it definitely tugs at the heartstrings.

Anne's rating: 3/5,  Ian's rating 2.5/5

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