Film Review: ‘Lore’

Saskia Rosendahl plays the daughter of Nazis in "Lore," out now. CREDIT: Music Box Films
Saskia Rosendahl plays the daughter of Nazis in “Lore”
CREDIT: Music Box Films

‘Lore’
Director: Cate Shortland
Stars: Saskia Rosendahl, Kal Malina
Rated: R
3 (out of 5) Globes

Though doing this has never done anything to diminish its power as a cultural force, there are those who don’t mind pointing out that “Gone With the Wind” concerns the end of the Civil War from the wrong side. The new film “Lore” is even more bold: its protagonists are the children of a Nazi SS officer and his just as passionate wife. It’s a sympathetic portrayal, however, only in that these are people struggling to find a new identity after their old one had finally been revealed as, to put it lightly, wrong.

As mom and dad are scuttled off to certain death, their titular teenage daughter (Saskia Rosendahl) is forced to tend to her three much younger siblings. They are all products of a cloistered existence, and thus prone to traits that have, in Germany during Year Zero, become suddenly, shall we say, gauche. Traveling 500 kilometers to their grandmother’s Hamburg home, switching from opulence to begging for scraps of food from disapproving citizens, they team up with a young Jewish survivor-type (Kai Malina). Even as he’s protected them (or tried to), Lore can’t help but shoot him an anti-semitic slur, even as he awakens in her feelings both intellectual and sexual.

“Lore” doesn’t shy away from reminding us of our characters’ bad side, even as it spends most of its time humanizing them. Aussie director Cate Shortland previously made the 2004 character study “Somersault,” and “Lore” is likewise tastefully observational. Her filmmaking is heavy with sensual long lens shots where only specific items in the frame are in focus, her actors directed in a purely visual manner. “Somersault” featured a fantastic performance from then-unknown Abbie Cornish (plus a not bad one from another newbie, Sam Worthington), and it was one largely sculpted from takes of her mostly doing everything but talking. Rosendahl, who looks uncannily Cornish-ish, is a similar find, her performance all in her face, not in her words.

Life in Germany immediately after the fall of the Nazi Party is not terribly well-covered, in general and particularly in film. Even the so-called “rubble films” — downer, documentary-style dramas from the late ‘40s, set amidst a society plagued by devastation both physical and psychological — tend to skirt the real issues. “Lore” deserves points for “going there,” even if it sometimes reduces its Nazi youth characters to victims of a mean German populace. It’s a touch too pat: Lore goes from ignorant to enlightened, politically and sexually. But more often than not it gets it just right.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

California passes 'yes-means-yes' campus sexual assault bill

Californian lawmakers passed a law on Thursday requiring universities to adopt "affirmative consent" language in their definitions of consensual sex, part of a nationwide drive to curb sexual assault on…

National

Syrian refugees top 3 million, half of all…

By Stephanie NebehayGENEVA (Reuters) - Three million Syrian refugees will have registered in neighboring countries as of Friday, but many remain trapped by the advance…

International

North Korean leader's money manager defects in Russia:…

A senior North Korean banking official who managed money for leader Kim Jong Un has defected in Russia and was seeking asylum in a third country, a South Korean newspaper…

Local

MAP: New York City Street Closures August 29,…

The Department of Transportation and NYPD said there may be residual delays near all of the street closures on August 29, 31 and 31. Several streets and avenues will be…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

Movies

Criterion's new Jacques Demy box mixes the light…

Jacques Demy, the most effervescent of French New Wave filmmakers, gets a Criterion box all to himself, with classics like "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."

Entertainment

Comedian Joan Rivers, 81, rushed to New York…

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Acerbic comedian and fashion critic Joan Rivers was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York on Thursday after she reportedly…

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…