Director: Cate Shortland
Screenplay: Cate Shortland, Robin Mukherjee
Starring: Sakia Rosendahl, Nele Trebs, Andre Frid, Mike Seidel, Kai Malina
Producers: Benny Dreschel, Karsten Stoter, Liz Watts, Paul Welsh
Running time: 109 minutes
Lore is a stunning post-apocalyptic film that really hits home with its grim realism. That’s because, unlike in so many other films, this apocalypse happened.
The heroine of the film, Lore, is the eldest child (she must be about 15) in a family of five as they have to leave their family home and walk to their grandmother’s house. The setting for all this is Germany at the very end of WWII in Europe.
Lore’s parents have been arrested, her father was in the SS, but it’s never explained what her mother did. It’s then left to Lore to get to Hamburg with her sister, who is probably 12, twin boys aged about 8 and a baby.
With the country collapsing around them, they have no money and no food. All they have is the remains of their mother’s jewellery to barter with.
Lore really is a road movie, except most of the time they aren’t on roads. The children struggle to walk and push a pram across fields and through woods and over rivers to reach their goal. On the way they meet a young man called Thomas (Kai Malina) who says he’s a jew and bears the scars of the concentration camps. Lore is suspicious of this man and his motives for wanting to help her family. She also begins to question the beliefs she was raised with by her Nazi parents, as she spends more time with Thomas, and then encounters a country defeated and its conquerors.
The film is beautifully shot with some amazing cinematography. The director has opted for a minimalist style that really helps to emphasise the bleakness that the children find themselves in. Cate Shortland also used what we could only call wobbly camera shots to give another rough edge to the film.
The stars of the film though are the actors playing the children, in particular Saskia Rosendahl (Lore) who is an amazing talent. She is so convincing as the eldest child who is on the verge of becoming a woman, but is still a child thrust into a world that is a total mess following the mad schemes of the adults in her country. Lore is a microcosm of the fallout of war, the men might do the fighting but it’s the woman and children who suffer the most and are left to pick up the pieces afterwards.
Lore is in parts a hard film to watch, it doesn’t pull its punches, but then war isn’t about glory and honour; it’s blood, death and destruction. Lore is one of the most truthful war films I have ever seen and a must see film.
Review by Henry Tucker