Lore is directed by Cate Shortland and based upon a section of The Dark Room, by Rachel Seiffer.
The year is 1945 and the Second World War is drawing to a close. Germany is in a state of shock and disbelief (mainly due to the Propaganda being fed to the general public) with the country’s surrender and the subsequent death of their leader Adolf Hitler.
In the midst of all the ensuing chaos we are introduced to five siblings whose parents have been arrested by the Allied Forces for their involvement in the war as well as being high ranking members in the Nazi Party.
Our story is essentially the voyage the remaining children must take to cross rural war-torn Germany, in a hope to reach their Grandmother’s North Sea home in Husum, some 600miles away. Lore, (Saskia Rosendahl) little more than a child herself at 14, must find the strength to become leader, provider, and mother to her four siblings during these turbulent and unpredictable times. This includes her baby brother, whose constant crying threatens to alert their position and invite unwanted attention in a country that is frightened and on edge.
The siblings, behind Lore, start their hike through the black forest and towards the trains when they learn they have been cut off, and that Germany has been divided into sections, split amongst the British, American and Russian forces, all of whom have different laws and require that everyone has identification papers. The children, being from a Nazi family, of course have none, making their journey even more perilous.
Along the way we meet Thomas, (Kai Malina) a young Jewish man who claims to be a survivor from Auschwitz II Birkenau. He helps the group for as long as he can, but his presence stirs some conflicting emotions within Lore. Under the rule of the Third Reich and raised as a Hitler Youth, she was taught to hate and despise such people. However, now with the presence of this mysterious character in the group it begins to arouse an awakening within Lore as adulthood sneaks up, which ultimately develops in to our story arc.
The basic theme of journeys is integral to the film as not only do all the characters follow a physical journey, but also a mental journey as well. They become the moral compass of the film as they develop through their interactions with others. We watch as Lore battles with her inherent beliefs and loss of her parents, as she learns the truth about the Nazi Regime, and in doing so finds herself.
The film develops into a beautifully crafted character piece that deals with themes of adolescence and sexual awakening. Saskia Rosendahl, in her film debut, delivers a powerful, compelling, and beautifully heartfelt performance as Lore. She effortlessly captivates the screen, displaying a range of emotion and skill beyond her years.
Shortland’s direction is masterful throughout the film and her subtleties in tone and landscapes beautifully embody the emotion of the characters in every scene. Concentrating on certain aspects of the world like nature, she brings her characters in line with our base instinct as humans to survive.
In an emotional climatic scene the director combines the movement of the camera with Lore’s psyche, going from one thought to another. This one scene in many ways encompasses the entire moral study of the film…. What are they meant to now believe about the war, Hitler, the Nazis and the Jews when it turns out everything they were ever told has turned out to be a lie?
Lore is a powerfully emotional and beautifully shot coming of age drama that becomes more than just a war film. Its visual grace and striking performances provide a gripping and thought provoking insight into a person’s battle with their own morals and inherent beliefs.
Take a Drink: every time Auschwitz is mentioned.
Take a Drink: when the Nazi Party is referenced (along with giving the middle finger of course)
Do a Shot: whenever Lore shouts or falls out with her sibblings