Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Video review: "Lore"

We are used to all sorts of stories about depravity and inhumanity during World War II. There have even been a number of wonderful movies about the struggles of children to survive the Holocaust and mayhem – “Europa, Europa,” “Au Revoir Les Enfants,” “Empire of the Sun.”

But “Lore” may be the first movie to examine the plight of Nazi children displaced and abandoned by the war. This Australian-German production is about a teenage girl who must lead her younger siblings hundreds of miles to the safety after the German fatherland falls to the Allies.

Lore (a terrific Saskia Rosendahl) struggles to keep her brothers and sister in line, who range from preteen down to an infant. The sight of these well-heeled kids rambling across the countryside with suitcases and a baby carriage is evocative, and heartrending.

Things grow more complicated when they encounter an older boy on the road, another wayward refugee, who turns out to be a Jewish survivor of the concentration camps. Lives are imperiled, and tragedy visits upon the little troupe of youngsters.

At first we are mean to identify with Lore, but our feelings grow more ambiguous when we learn that her parents’ odious lessons have been absorbed, at least in part, by their oldest child.

“Lore” is not the sort of film to ask or offer easy answers. Director Cate Shortland provides a plaintive, harrowing portrait of the way war and hatred infect the soul.

The video release is being accompanied with a decent collection of extras. These include a making-of documentary, an alternate ending, deleted scenes and a panel discussion with cast and crew. There is also a featurettes, “Memories of A German Girl,” that looks back on the war from a child’s perspective.



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