Before a Nazi loyalist mother in the south of Germany walks off to surrender to the nearest Allied unit, she tells 14-year-old daughter Hannalore (Saskia Rosendahl) to lead her four siblings to grandmother’s farm near Hamburg.
Canberra film-maker Cate Shortland has adapted the saga of courage and pathos in Rachel Seiffert’s novel, as “Lore”, carrying baby sister wrapped in a blanket, leads twin brothers and middle sister on a journey north, without resources, shelter or food.
Discomfort and danger are constant companions, traversing a landscape inhabited by Germans with empty larders and confused emotions and victors whose loyalties lie to one of four occupying powers, linked only by real enough suspicions of Germans generally and a justifiable loathing of Nazis in particular.
It’s powerful stuff made more poignant by Lore’s mistaken fear of Americans, whom her Nazi upbringing has taught her to regard as monsters threatening unspeakable punishments. She is cautious about Thomas, the young adult who attaches himself to her group, as well she should be, but for reasons beyond what an unprotected teenaged girl might fear. Thomas might be friendly but he has his own agenda.
Most of the film’s audience were not born at its time. “Lore” symbolises a generation having to unlearn some dreadful lessons and begin anew, as indeed Germany has done. There can be no winners from a regression into political awfulness such as Hitler imposed.
At Greater Union