Irish Film Institute -LORE


Director: Cate Shortland

109 minutes, Germany-Australia-U.K., 2012, Subtitled, Colour, D-Cinema

It’s taken Australian writer-director Cate Shortland eight years to follow her brilliant debut Somersault, but the unexpected German-language result only underlines her status as a talent of rare sensitivity and ambition. Set during the final days of WWII, this adaptation of Rachel Seiffert’s novel The Dark Room is another rites-of-passage story, but what lies ahead for teenage heroine Lore (assured newcomer Saskia Rosendahl) is not just the physical challenge of delivering her four young siblings to their grandma’s house near far-off Hamburg, but the task of surviving when all the certainties drummed into her by fervent Nazi parents are now melting away.

Convincingly recreating Germany’s post-conflict disarray, Shortland daringly presents us with a central character whose beliefs are an anathema to us, yet about to be tested when a resourceful Jewish refugee (Kai Malina) comes to her rescue and stirs nascent sexual feelings. Tender, vivid and unsettling, this is filmmaking of visceral immediacy and subtle nuance. (Notes by Trevor Johnston.)

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