Set during World War II, a story seen through the innocent eyes of Bruno, the eight-year-old son of the commandant at a concentration camp, whose forbidden friendship with a Jewish boy on the other side of the camp fence has startling and unexpected consequences.
Young Bruno lives a wealthy lifestyle in prewar Germany along with his mother, elder sister, and SS Commandant father. The family relocates to the countryside where his father is assigned to take command a prison camp. A few days later, Bruno befriends another youth, strangely dressed in striped pajamas, named Shmuel who lives behind an electrified fence. Bruno will soon find out that he is not permitted to befriend his new friend as he is a Jew, and that the neighboring yard is actually a prison camp for Jews awaiting extermination. Written by
Bruno's parents are named Ralf and Elsa, but in the credits of the film they are listed as 'Mother' and 'Father'. This is a tribute to the novel, in which the narrative focuses solely on Bruno's point of view. See more »
"The story mixes up the German Wehrmacht (army) and the SS (Hitler's paramilitary "protective" forces). While the Wehrmacht was not directly involved in the holocaust (though they committed war crimes and killed civilians), the SS was in charge of the concentration camps. Bruno's father's uniform is a mix of Wehrmacht and SS. The Wehrmacht uniforms were green, whereas SS uniforms were black and had the skull ("Totenkopf") symbol on the cap." Incorrect: the black "allgemeine SS" uniform, so beloved of Hollywood because of its iconographic qualities, was discontinued during the war. On the green 1940-1945 SS uniforms, the black colour was only retained on the peaked cap bands, the collar patches, as underlay for badges and on some varieties of shoulder board pipings. Camp Guards wore copper-brown uniform piping, the "waffenfarbe", denoting the camp guards branch. Just look at the original pictures of uniformed SS guards in the camps from the period 1940-1945. See more »
Mum, what's going on?
Mm, your father's been given a promotion.
That means a better job.
I know what promotion is.
So we're having a little party to celebrate.
He's still going to be a soldier though, isn't he?
[...] See more »
Quotation displayed before the opening titles: "Childhood is measured out by sounds and smells and sights, before the dark hour of reason grows - John Betjeman" See more »
One of the most affecting pieces of Cinema released in years
There are more dramatic and more philosophical pieces of cinema dealing with this very emotive subject, but few deal with the horror, futility and falsehood of the "final solution" with such clear simplicity. We see the lead characters as both humans and monsters we see internal conflict and how they each come to terms with their conflicts, above all we see how futile their conclusions were.
There will be the predictable comparisons with Schindler's List but you might also want to compare this movie to "The Counterfeiters" which also deals with the conflicts necessary to survive. Watching this movie I kept being drawn back to Primo Levi's book "If This is Man" the story of his time as a prisoner suffering from this evil.
The great success of the film is its simplicity, it does not seek to over analyse but simply allows the development of the characters to tell the story.
One of the contributers spoke of how he was in screen 9 (if I remember correctly) in Cineworld Dublin - I was in Screen 11 and I can had the same experience, the film ended and no one moved, all were in a state of shock, no, sorrow. This is not a film for young children, but older children and adults familiar with the evil addressed in this movie should go and see it. This movie deserves great success. I rate it 9 out of 10 and would have given it a perfect score except for some small technical questions, but none that take away from this fantastic piece of cinema - All associated with this movie should be rightly proud of there work and if any of you read these comments - Thank You!
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