Pick of the week: A Nazi’s daughter’s painful awakening
This year’s foreign-language Oscar race may seem like a foregone conclusion, with all the entirely justifiable attention being paid to Michael Haneke’s extraordinary “Amour.” Don’t let that deter you from seeing “Lore,” a strange and intimate childhood odyssey set in the immediate aftermath of World War II, which is every bit as remarkable in its own way. The title, by the way, refers to the teenage German protagonist’s nickname (short for Hannelore) not to the English word indicating tales and knowledge, although you’re free to construct a double meaning for it if you care to.
For academy purposes “Lore” is classified as an Australian film, and it certainly propels previously obscure Aussie director Cate Shortland onto the global-cinema map, but it was made entirely in Germany, and the only fragments of English you’ll hear come from American soldiers. You may be thinking you don’t have the emotional and psychological space for yet another movie about childhood in wartime or the legacy of the Holocaust, but I promise you that “Lore” offers a vision of the costs of war at an individual level, along with a challenging moral parable, that’s not like anything you’ve seen before. In its ruthless detail and its unsentimental violence, “Lore” is certainly reminiscent of Roman Polanski’s “The Pianist,” and the story it tells is just as chilling in a different direction.