‘Lore’ looks at WWII from the perspective of children of Nazis
When you cast a young boy to play the son of a Nazi soldier...how much of the horrors of war do you tell him?
That was the bridge Australian director Cate Shorthand, who is also Jewish, had to cross bringing her latest film, “Lore” to the big screen. The film, which screened during the Toronto International Film Festival, follows five young siblings, who are the children of Nazis, as they deal with the fallout of their parents’ actions in post-war Germany.
“We gave the scripts to their parents, and said to the parents, ‘How much of this should we tell them?’” says Shorthand in an interview with CTV.ca. “The parents said we should tell them everything.”
If that sounds shocking…well, it’s because the movie offers a very different point of view about the fallout of the Second World War. .
“The film is about perpetrators, and what it means to be a child of a perpetrator, what it means to be a child of a murderer,” explains Shortland. “But we didn’t have to speak to the children about the atrocities that happened within the camp structure…because they didn’t need that. Their characters didn’t know about it.”
The film focuses on the children’s realization of what Nazis soldiers did during the war, and how it was their parents who were some of the ones committing the atrocities. The children are then left to deal with the fallout of their parents’ actions as they try to build a life in Germany.
The director chose to tell this story because she felt if the war was going to be told honestly, it needed to be told from all perspectives.
“I wouldn’t work with people that aren’t open to looking at history honestly,” she says. “Germany as a nation, interrogates its history more than any other country on earth…they have a lot of grief and anger about it, but it’s talked about …
“They’ve really embraced this idea about looking at what they’ve done…and making sure that everybody is aware. What happened is horrendous but the way they’ve dealt with it is inspired.”
Shorthand further explained that the point of view she takes in her film is a radical departure from what’s been made in Germany before about 1945.
“People talk about not understanding the Holocaust because of the scale of it and the mechanization of it and horror of what happened,” says Shortland. “What we tried to do in the film is say ‘it’s not somebody else that did this - it’s your family that did this, it’s us that did this.’
“I think some people will find that confronting. I’m hoping it promotes dialogue.”