Saturday, December 06, 2008

Review: The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas: something stinks in leafy and well-tailored Berlin, 1941

Imagine life as a privileged child in Berlin, 1941. Your family is wealthy and well-educated; nonetheless, something stinks. In a marvelous world of smart woolens and leather goods emblazoned with the Nazi insignia there is a not-easily detectable undercurrent of dismay. Mainly it seems to be the women who have trouble buying into the well-tailored Nazi deal.

What of the children? How were they brought along into the coven? In The Boy in the Striped Pajamas we enter the holocaust via the leafy streets of Berlin and the comfortable world of the upper middle class.

Young and well-reviewed novelist John Boyne created this incisive exploration of the issues surrounding the holocaust. It has been made into a thought-provoking and velvety movie by British writer-director Mark Herman.

Having seen many movies that address the issues of the enormous ethnic cleansing called the holocaust I can recommend this one as a deeply-affecting and thought-provoking piece of work. We took our 12 year-old son to the movie and it has started us on lengthy discussions of ethics, retribution and history. It seemed quite appropriate to all of us.

Running time 93 mins.

Robinson Film Center.

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