Review: Lore (2013)

Lore (2012)
Dir. Cate Shortland
Starring: Saskia Rosendahl, Kai Malina, Nele Trebs, Ursina Lardi

“The trouble with Eichmann was precisely that so many were like him, and that the many were neither perverted nor sadistic, that they were, and still are, terribly and terrifyingly normal. From the viewpoint of our legal institutions and of our moral standards of judgment, this normality was much more terrifying than all the atrocities put together.”

(-'Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil', Hannah Arendt.)


Lore follows the journey of 14-year-old Hannalore and her wayward young siblings as they attempt to cross the German countryside on their way to their Grandmother's. A folkloric reminiscence of Little Red Riding Hood, perhaps; except that the year is 1945, and Lore's parents are high-ranking SS, arrested for war crimes by the Allied Forces. Left to fend for herself and what remains of her family, Lore crosses the rural sections of the crumbling Fatherland, the pastoral serenity belying the moral rot of its inhabitants. A privileged, sheltered girl, Lore adjusts to a countryside littered with American troops, breadlines and bloodied corpses, reacting to the new savagery of her environment with surprising resourcefulness. Raised with pride in her family's Fascist ideology, she shows no signs of relinquishing her beliefs; not until she is shaken by a prolonged run-in with a young Jewish boy, Thomas. Filmed with lyrical, doting attention to the natural beauty of Germanic forests and fields, the film evokes an almost Malick-esque consideration of inherited moral decay and the silent, ancient impassivity of nature. The Nazi fixation upon Germany as bastion of Bavarian history and Aryan purity, along with its ties to Paganism, seem referenced obliquely here -- the picturesque, idealised elements of the setting giving way to Lore's ugly adolescent pangs of realisation (in extremis) that her parents are not perhaps as virtuous as she might have assumed.


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