Lore is a girl, 16 or 17, eldest of five, daughter of a leading Nazi, at the close, after the armistice, life in flux, Germany bleeding, the Fuhrer gone.
The camps exposed. A sense of dread, a sense of never-ever. The comprehension of defeat unmentionable, 1945.
“You must remember who you are.”
Her father is arrested. Her mother wanders away with a suitcase.
The children are told to go to their grandmother, somewhere beyond, in the far distance, “where it is safe”.
Nowhere is safe. Nothing. And so the journey begins. Twin boys, a baby and two teenage girls.
“Germany is no more.”
What’s left are derelict houses, a wasteland, foreign troops in heavy lorries, an odour of fear like the smell of wolves after rain.
And then there is Thomas, slipping lightly from a forest. He says he’s a Jew.
Lore knows about Jews, hateful parasites, as her father taught them. Also he is a thief, which makes a difference between starvation and survival. He stays with them, protects them, uses them.
Cate Shortland’s film has a unique quality, so welcoming and rare in these days of 3-D megabusters. Her use of close-ups and the ability to interpret silence reveals the attributes of a true artist.
Lore’s relationship with her siblings and Thomas shifts from one extreme to another. Shortland captures the intensity, insecurity and desires of the teenage psyche beautifully.
These children are damaged by their experience. Nothing is certain in an uncertain world.
Love breaks; memories are soiled; the future blows in a different wind.