Could this really be a turning point for me with foreign films?
In the final days of WW2 a 14 year old girl, Lore, is abandoned by her Nazi parents, due to their imprisonment and complicity with the Nazi’s, in the Black Forest in Bavaria. Left to play the mothering role to her 4 siblings, one being only a baby, she is set the challenge of taking them to Hamburg to find their distant Grandmother. Throughout the way she is faced with what Germany has become, walking 500 miles through the remnants of one of the greatest historical event in modern times, her Nazi values blinding the truth of the horror occurring in Germany.
This is a completely serious film, about a serious subject and should be addressed with complete care and sympathy towards those affected, in any way, during Nazi rule, and this film achieves it completely. I am usually not a devoted fan to foreign films, and am usually faced with slight tediousness towards the never-ending subtitles. Its not that I can’t sit through a subtitled film (I enjoy partly subtitled films), it is just that I like to appreciate what is going on around the bold letters, rather than sorely focus on the script.
However Cate Shortland, the director, really did this film justice. Throughout the film I was able to focus on both the subtitles and the filming, with crucial scenes not having heavy dialogue, but instead expressing emotions through body language and images. I was able to turn my focus onto the film and still completely follow it (and that definitely wasn’t because of my German vocabulary). Shortland is unquestionably a gifted film maker and I really hope to see more of her in the future.
The film is stunningly monotonic and highly grim. It does not feel like Shortland is trying to edge around the gruesome although it does feel slightly fabricated (I may just be ignorant). You are treated to the image of vast amounts of flies crawling over a mans blown out eye socket, as well as a man being beaten to death by a blunt rock. Shortland doesn’t hold back. The film shows the psychological scars that Germany bared, and will continue to bare for quite some time.
The craft of this film is incredible, with scenes completely rounding up the emotion in the film, without needing to showcase huge sets and roping in the best actors. In fact, the best scenes in Lore happen to be the ones that are metaphorical, and these are by far the most powerful in Lore and film in general, with the final scene rounding the entirety of the movie completely. The acting was superb and the children were remarkable.
It is miserable world cinema at it’s best. It makes you feel guilty, and rightly so, it wasn’t meant to be a light film, it was meant to shock, to inform, to guilt. In fact, this film is one of the heaviest I have seen in a long time. Creepily tense and sophisticatedly moving and impressive, I highly recommend. In no way is Lore, the film and the character, meant to be likable, but instead, overpowering and touching.