Australian director Cate Shortland’s absorbing German drama “Lore” probes the waning days of World War II from a seldom-seen angle: the families of Nazis who believed Hitler’s lies.
Teenage Lore (Saskia Rosendahl) is the oldest of five siblings who must go it alone across Germany when their Nazi officer father (Hans-Jochen Wagner) disappears and their mother (Ursina Lardi) faces arrest. Lore must beg for food on the road as she learns about Hitler’s death, the Allies’ division of Germany — and the reports of concentration camps where Jews were murdered systematically. As she tries to reconcile these truths with what her parents taught her, she discovers that her siblings’ hope for survival is a stranger, Thomas (Kai Malina), who carries a yellow Star of David with his papers.
Shortland (who directed the coming-of-age drama “Somersault”) and co-writer Robin Mukherjee adapted a story from Rachel Seiffert’s novel The Dark Room. They weave an emotionally complex tale of a teen girl’s beliefs crashing into reality. Rosendahl’s performance is raw and compelling, as Lore fights for her siblings’ survival and grows up in a hurry.
Opens today at the Broadway Centre Cinemas; not rated, but probably R for sexuality, war violence and language; in German with subtitles; 109 minutes.