(Australia, Germany, 2012, 109 mins, DCP)
CAST Saskia Rosendahl, Kai Malina, Nele Trebs, Ursina Lardi, Hans-Jochen Wagner


This gripping off-road movie is Australian director/co-writer Cate Shortland’s first feature since her debut success, Somersault (2004)… In a deadly, real-life variation of The Hunger Games, teenaged Lore (pronounced Lor-a and short for Hannelore) attempts to shepherd her four siblings, one of them only a few months old, across lawless, war-ravaged Germany during the bitter end days of Nazism… Their terrified father (Hans-Jochen Wagner), an SS Officer, burns a huge pile of papers and photographs at their stately Bavarian home before shooting the family dog and disappearing; their traumatized mother (Ursina Lardi, brilliant) decides to give herself up. She abandons her children, urging them to somehow make their way to Omi, their grandmother, who lives in Hamburg, 900 kilometers to the north… Demure Lore (Saskia Rosendahl) and the children—Fuehrer-loving, Jew-hating, indulged, innocent of the war—are creatures of a strict upbringing and years of lying propaganda. But innocence offers no protection against ragged fellow countrymen reduced to primal needs… Begging for meagre food and cold shelter, they meet… the thin, wild-eyed refugee Thomas (Kai Malina) who takes an immediate interest in the budding Lore… Their relationship, at once wary, hostile and needy, is beautifully handled by Shortland and her two young actors. The deep-feeling Rosendahl makes a major impression as an intelligent girl learning the power of her sexuality and resolve under maximum stress. We see the Nazi disaster filtered through her teenage decency and incomprehension…—Frank Hatherley, Screen

"A lyrical, deeply affecting study into a rarely seen legacy of the Holocaust." - Megan Lehmann, The Hollywood Reporter

"Intense and emotional. Saskia Rosendahl is mesmerizing." - Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

"Shortland’s brilliant new film is an unsettling coming-of-age story that renders its judgement on Germany’s crimes and strange aftermath of the war." - George Robinson, The Jewish Week