The visually stunning Lore, directed by Cate Shortland, follows Lore and her siblings at the end of WWII as they trek across Germany after the Allies arrest their Nazi parents. Along the way Lore learns about the atrocities her parents were involved with. She is forced to reconsider her whole worldview as she learns more and a Jewish boy helps keep her family safe.
As I walked out of the film I asked a friend what they thought. “It was good, but I don’t really know why we need a film about Hitler’s youth…” I nodded in slight agreement. I was so overcome by the beautiful cinematography and evocative emotions the film elicits that I didn’t have the chance to think about the need for a story about these children. After giving it a lot of thought I realized this story is actually incredibly timely and important because something very similar is happening right now.
There’s a moment early in the film where someone tells Lore the Americans kill children. A woman to my left gasped with disgust. Her thoughts were obvious, “That’s a lie. Americans would never do that.” Sorry if I’m about to burst your bubble, but Americans do kill children. Since 2004 approximately 176 children have been killed by unmanned drones in Pakistan alone, but hardly anyone talks about it. We live our lives with blinders on. The American people either have no idea this is going on, choose to ignore it, or worse, claim it’s for the greater good. That we’re doing nothing wrong.
As Lore and her siblings travel across Germany people are in denial. They tell her the atrocities committed by Nazi soldiers never happened. It’s all a lie created by the Allies to discredit Nazi beliefs. That no one has done anything wrong. I have to ask. How different are we? The American government has used the fear created by September 11th to declare a “war on terror.” In reality, we’ve gone a killing spree around the world and it’s totally okay because we’ve created an environment where anyone who is Muslim is a terrorist. They are inhuman in the same way that Nazi’s believed Jews were inhuman.
As we learn more about the Obama administrations historic use of unmanned drones what have we done? What will the history books say about all the innocent people we have killed? Or will it be written out of the history books? I’ve been told we need to look to the past to analyze the present and future, and this is what makes Lore so powerful and truly universal. As Lore continues to learn the truth about what her parents and all of Germany have done she begins to understand that she’s been brainwashed. That she’s completely dehumanized anyone who believes in Judaism. In the final and absolutely brilliant scene she acknowledges that her country did do something wrong. Her action is subtle and profound. Are we capable of doing the same thing?