My husband and I went to see this movie (The Boy in the Striped Pajamas) last night…and I would highly recommend it. Just don’t take young children!
There are a couple of places in the film that I might take mild issue with the premise–or the way a situation is portrayed. But overall, it drew me in from the very beginning–drew me in, even though I had fear as to the way it was going to turn out.
Very briefly, it’s the story of Bruno, an 8-year-old German boy sometime in the early 1940s. He moves from Berlin to the countryside with his family because his father–a soldier–has received a major promotion to be in charge of a “camp.” Bruno makes friends with another 8-year-old boy on the other side of the fence in the camp. The movie deals with how this experience impacts the entire family.
One of the things I appreciated was that the characters were not caricatures like you often see in movies dealing with the Holocaust. You began to see how people could get drawn into horrendous situations… Yes, there is cruelty, but there is also humanity…and I think that’s what got to me so much.
The violence is not overt and in-your-face…and in some ways that makes it worse. At least it did for me, because my imagination can be quite vivid.
How does one turn away from evil when at first it doesn’t seem so bad?
And unfortunately, I can’t say that what occurred in the movie was just a historical event that took place before I was born. That type of seeing “the other” as an “it” instead of a human being is still going on.
When will we learn? When will we learn to see each other as Bruno sees Schmuel?