Film review: Lore (15)
The Australian director Cate Shortland has made a quite stunning film about the collapse of Nazi Germany, seen not from a Berlin bunker but through the eyes of a 14-year-old girl whose SS father and mother, complicit in war atrocities, have disappeared to face the music.
Lore (Saskia Rosendahl), now in loco parentis, must conduct her four younger siblings from the family home in Bavaria to their grandmother's farm, 500 miles to the north outside Hamburg. Travelling on foot through a countryside littered with corpses and scavenged by starving natives like themselves, the children survive by trading their parents' jewellery for food, ever mindful of the occupying forces – Russian and American – closing in.
What Shortland superbly reveals is a nation in denial of its crimes, such as the scene in which an old German matron stares at a portrait of the late Führer and says, "We broke his heart... he loved us so much."
In Lore herself this devotion to the Fatherland fights with a dawning awareness of the colossal infamies that have been committed in its name, notably witnessed in photographs of piled corpses (people still claim they are faked). Only when a Jewish survivor of the camps, Thomas (Kai Malina), attaches himself to the family do we see how madly divided is Lore, contemptuous and clinging at once.
Shortland directs with a rigorous honesty, and prospers from at least three vital decisions: first, to film the script in German; second, to hire the brilliant cinematographer Adam Arkapaw (Snowtown) whose images of nature and decay are so haunting; third, to have chosen the remarkable Saskia Rosendahl to play the lead, an unsympathetic character yet fiercely and fallibly human to her fingertips. This is an outstanding piece of work.
tv Review: Miranda Hart and co deliver the festive goods
tvReview: Older generation get hot under the collar this Christmas
comedy Erm...he seems to be back
tvReview: No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa
tv Gymnast Louis Smith triumphed in the Christmas special
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 PlayStation and Xbox hacked by Lizard Squad
- 2 Christmas comes early to Hong Kong, as millions of bank notes spill out onto busy street
- 3 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
- 4 British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
- 5 Vagina canoe artist defends herself over ‘obscenity’ charges
EastEnders Christmas special, review: Brilliant Danny Dyer glues you to your seat
Felicity Jones on being Stephen Hawking's wife in The Theory of Everything: 'I didn't want her to be a saint'
Game of Thrones season five: First preview clip shows a beardy Tyrion, a moody Cersei and a distressed Arya
Doctor Who series 9: Jenna Coleman staying on for whole season as Clara Oswald
The Interview finally gets US release after Sony hack and terror threats – but reviews of North Korea satire are mixed
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
Alex Salmond has 'broken his word to the Scottish people' says Scottish Lib Dem leader