Written by:
Beverly Berning
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Directed by Cate Shortland
Written by Cate Shortland and Robin Mukherjee
Starring: Saskia Rosendahl, Kai Malina
Run Time: 108 minutes
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

A rarely seen part of history, “Lore” tells the story through the eyes of Lore (Saskia Rosendahl), the eldest daughter of five children, of how staunch Nazi believers, average German citizens of the Third Reich, came to terms with the truth of Hitler’s regime in the weeks and months following the collapse of the government. Left to fend for herself and her siblings when the Allies capture her parents, Lore and her siblings make a harrowing journey across Germany, from their home in the Black Forest to their grandmother’s house in Hamburg. Along the way they meet the mysterious young man who calls himself Thomas (Kai Malina) and carries papers identifying himself as a Jew.

Where “The White Ribbon” leaves off portraying the social and psychological conditions that led to the rise of Nazis, “Lore” brings the thread full circle to portray where that trajectory of history ended up for the very people who most believed and supported it. As Thomas says at one point, referring to how people were surviving in the vacuum caused by the collapse of the Nazi regime but referring to the twelve-year Reich’s legacy, “Everyone has does things for which they are ashamed.”

This is Australian director Cate Shortland’s second film, following “Somersault.” It is based on Rachel Seifert’s novel The Dark Room. Cinematographer Adam Arkapaw captures the bleak ruins of the war-shattered infrastructure, contrasting it sharply with enchanting detailed visions of nature, which is indifferent to human cruelty and devastation.

Saskia Rosendahl delivers a moving performance as the fourteen-year-old survivor left to see after her younger siblings while frequently facing danger and the gradual disillusionment of her deepest held beliefs. Kai Malina (Thomas), who appeared in The White Ribbon, plays a mysterious stranger, whose exact identity remains obscure and upon whom Lore and her siblings must rely in order to survive.

Les K. Wright

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