Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Boy in Striped Pajamas

This came to me from a friend, Cimberly (Kimberly with a "c") Nesker, who was moved by a film she had recently seen called "The Boy in Stripped Pajamas," which is based on a novel by John Boyne. It doesn't look like the film has been released in Canada yet (she saw it in Glasgow, where she is currently getting her master's in psychology), but it's going to be released in the US in the near future, and hopefully in Canada soon after that.

I don't usually go all crazy for many films that have the Holocaust as the centre of the plot, I find that films that take a stand-offish approach to such heavy subject matter, by and large, end up having a much more poignant impact on the viewer. A perfect example of this is "Everything Is Illuminated," Liev Schreiber's first stab at direction with one of the most beautiful stories I have ever seen.

Today, I saw a film that had a similar impact, "The Boy In Stripped Pajamas." To say that this film manages to expose both the bitterness of Nazism, the helplessness of those who would oppose it and the forced ignorance of the Jewry of Germany to their horrific fate, would be an understatement. The film is told by two boys, aged eight. One who is going through the forced labour camps, but unsure why, and (more importantly) the young German boy who befriends him through the electrified fence. The story paints an incredible picture that is difficult to watch, whether you are Jewish or not, but does so in such a way as to make you unsure of who to pity (the German or Jewish boy, NOT the Nazi characters) - which I think is it's strongest point.

It's an adaptation from a novel and produced by the BBC, so I'm not even sure it will get wide release in North America. However, if it does, I strongly recommend it. I wouldn't be surprised if it received at least an Oscar nod for best adapted screenplay. Here is a link to IMDB, which also features its trailer.

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