Review this movie
Jul 12, 2013This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. One minute, the bigot in the bar, holding court at a table full of enabling friends, regales angrily about being passed over for a promotion to a Jew(because "I'm better than a Jew," he says), and then the next minute, in Time Out(from The Twilight Zone: The Movie), the bigot stands outside the tavern, staring out at Nazi-era Germany. The door, now a transmogrified wall, marks the beginning of a fever dream, in which the bigot pinballs between Berlin and Vietnam, learning firsthand about being "the other" in the midst of a pogrom. Ultimately, the American is forcibly escorted onto a train headed for Auschwitz, where he will, no doubt, burn in a crematorium. Not so dissimilar to Time Out, an unnamed journalist, the wife of a Nazi soldier, in A Woman in Berlin, also over drinks, albeit at a swankier affair and setting(a party at a hotel), likewise, denigrates the Jews, but implicitly. Even worse than pontificating about the inferiority of the Jewish people through slurs, they go unmentioned, in which she advocates the ongoing holocaust by asking for "a moment of silence", a heartfelt testimonial to honor the "brave" young men fighting across the European expanse. Six million dead later, the quietly anti-Semitic woman takes a walk in her enemy's shoes, as the film expands on Time Out's idea of comeuppance for racists, when she finds herself being raped by a Russian soldier and the ensuing ironic humiliation, upon the dawning that this basest of all subjugations is the Red Army's prerogative. The film itself is a reveal, that epiphanic moment when the audience has to reorientate themselves to the narrative's time and place, that climaxing reversal of fortune which characterizes The Twilight Zone occurs, here, instead at the outset, since the bombed-out buildings and the abounding detritus of war, with a start, we realize, doesn't belong to Krakow. It's a ghetto all right, but it's Berlin's ghetto. That's the twist. Continuing where Downfall left off, in Lore(adapted from Rachel Seiffert's triptych novel The Dark Room), the German side, once again, is given the agency, which to the controversy of some, humanizes the Nazi Party by precluding Jews from the narrative, a schematic necessity since the casual cruelty inflicted on the Polish citizenry, as seen in past films, would make it impossible for the audience to contemplate on the suffering that Germany endured in post-war Europe. What should we feel when Gunter, the son of a Nazi commandant, is gunned down beneath the foliage of trees? Unlike the Von Trapp children in The Sound of Music, Lore and her siblings are far from being naifs; their father is too close to Hitler's inner circle, and in fact, are collaborators, when during the evacuation sequence, we see them destroying documents alongside their parents, war criminals both. The restraint that Lore displays after Vater shoots the dog in cold blood is a restraint born out of Hitler Youth-taught ideology, which empoisons her mind with the concept of Aryan superiority over non-Aryans and animals alike. Hiding out in the Black Forest, the proud family makes no pretense of assimilation among the pastoral folks, presenting themselves as superior to the apolitical farmers, conveyed through their fancy dress and having the means to pay for comestibles. It's a crucifix, not the party symbol, a swastika, that affixes the side of a family's modest house. Lore and the beloved Julie Andrews musical, perhaps, not so coincidentally, share a common character name: Liesl, since the moving afterimage of these children journeying by foot towards Hamburg recalls the Von Trapp clan's hilly landscaped escape to Switzerland while "Climb Every Mountain" plays over the soundtrack. Aware of such iconography, the filmmaker includes a brief song interlude, turning Lore ephemerally into a parodical anti-musical, when the twins, Gunter and Jurgen, perform a war song that exhorts nationalism to an old woman, a fervent Hitler supporter. Do they understand the words? Yes. Gunter died thinking that Tomas, a camp survivor who provides safe passage across a reapportioned Germany, was one of them, a Nazi. Jurgen, in showing his sister the wallet he stole from Tomas, reveals that he too knows about the camps, repeating Tomas' words: "The man was a Jew. He was dead anyway," words that Tomas used to explain how the yellow star would help him deal with Americans. The theft protects Tomas from Oma. In the documentary Hitler's Children, author Niklas Frank explains how he executes his parents anew at every one of his public readings. Like Lore, the son of a Polish Governor-General was no innocent. Conversely, like Niklas, the duped young woman severs ties with her Nazi past, in the form of smashing a beloved deer figurine belonging to Mutti, which she smashes to smithereens with the heel of her shoe. But what about the other three? Niklas' siblings never repented. Will they?… Expand
Dec 24, 2013This movie is brilliant but beware if you like your films wrapped up in a nice bow with good guys and bad guys carefully identified look elsewhere
For those of us who realize that life is grey and never black & white it is great story-telling
Subtle slow methodical building through-out.
Yes the young jew is never fleshed out that is a conscious decision for pete's sake he represents the faceless nameless millions of jews slaughtered in the camps.
I could go on and on about the artistic choices yes there is cut-away to nature once again a choice contrasting the children with uncaring, always going on nature it doesn't care that there has been a war that the kids may die it just is an existential presence throughout -see any of Malik's films for heaven's sake.
Anyway brilliant and moving see it think about if it does not haunt you you're a moron… Expand
An engrossing but frustrating movie, so subtle in its depiction of a teenager struggling to come to terms with a world and worldview utterly upended that it almost trivializes the tragedy that Lore, we suspect, is just beginning to feel responsible for.