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Lore
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68 of 70 people found the following review helpful
on March 25, 2013
Most of us have seen many films about WW2. Most of what I've seen has been well-made and correctly shows the insanity of Hitler, the cruelty of the Nazis, the complacency or fear shown by German adults about challenging "the system" and the horror of the Holocaust. This one is different. Although it passes through all of the above, it asks a question for all of us: If you loved and trusted your parents (or any role model) and they embedded a certain point of view in your heart and head, how long would it take for you to even be open to another reality when you began to see contrary evidence in the outside world - especially when your parents told you that you would encounter nothing but propaganda and lies? How long would it take? Especially if you grew up in a time when there was not much outside media and you were only 14 years old living in a society where everyone around you believed the same thing as your parents or were too afraid to even hint at anything different. As an American, this made me think about all the things we've done in the world during my lifetime that I accepted because, in my heart, I still believe after all is said and done, that we are the good guys. If we do something on the world stage that seems questionable, there must be a good and ethical reason for having done it.
The feel of the film is totally authentic, the acting as real as you can imagine, the photography and direction brings you very close to the characters and their feelings and it left me with lots on my mind: What should I believe? How would a Jewish person react to this film? What has been the mindset of an entire generation of Germans who grew up during this period? What should the rest of us learn about our deepest beliefs regarding other people?
This would be a great film for families or groups to watch, then discuss.
Bottom line for me, even if someone could find some flaw in the writing, acting, direction or filming, this film deserves the highest rating and is a "must see" for anyone who cares about people.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
"Lore" (2012 co-production from Australia and Germany; 109 min.) brings the story of Lore, a teenage girl, and her 4 younger siblings. As the movie opens, seemingly far-away WWII is coming to a close (with the announcement that the Fuhrer is dead). We soon learn that Lore's parents are high up in the Nazi party and sure to be arrested by the Allies. Lore's mother implores Lore to take her siblings up north to Hamburg to where Omi is (Lore's grandmother). The problem is that Lore and her siblings are in the Black Forest (Southwest Germany) and that Hamburg is far, far away. With no money and no food, the siblings face a quasi-impossible task. Then at a certain point they make the acquaintance of Thomas, who appears to have escaped one of the concentration camps. Now a goup of six, they work their way further north. At this point we are not quite yet half-way into the movie but to tell you more would ruin your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.

Several comments: first and foremost, this is the bleakest movie that I have seen in a long, long time. Much of the movie confronts you with the fact that food was scarce and people will do just about anything to get some food. Just when you think that the situation of the siblings can't get worse, it does. Lore's youngest sibling is baby Peter, maybe 6 months old I'm guessing. You would expect baby Peter to be crying quite a bit under these circumstances, and that is exactly what we see on screen, no sugarcoating of any kind. Kudos to Saskia Rosendahl in the title role, she will simply blow you away with this performance. I must give a caveat about the way the movie is filmed and edited, with numerous extreme close-ups (of hands, faces, plants, anything really) and handheld camera shots.

Bottom line, though, is that this movie about an impossible journey makes for gripping and rewarding viewing. I had seen the previews of this several times and when this opened at my local art-house theatre here in Cincinnati, I went to see it right away as I figure this will no play very long, given the nature of the movie, but I could be wrong. In fact, the screening I saw this at today was reasonably well attended, although I did see an older couple walk out in the middle of the movie, I guess they couldn't take it anymore. If you are in the mood for a quality foreign movie that makes for at times difficult but ultimately rewarding viewing, do not miss this. "Lore" is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon February 20, 2013
“Lore” is a captivating 2012 coming-of-age drama about a 15 year old girl who tries to shepherd her 4 younger siblings 500 kilometers across war-devastated Germany at the end of WW 2. The film was adapted from Rachel Seiffert’s 2001 novel “The Dark Room”.

The film is beautifully photographed by Australia born Adam Arkapaw who is best known in that country for films like “The Snowtown Murders” (2011), “Animal Kingdom” (2010), and “End of Town” (2006).

The child actors are marvelous, especially Saskia Rosendahl (as Lore) and Nele Trebs as her younger sister.

This is a German production with English subtitles.

Australia born writer/director Cate Shortland is best known for the award winning film “Somersault” (2004). She does a good job showing the trials and tribulations of the journey, especially the tension between the once proud elite and the realities of the new world, but her choice of shots keeps us at a distance from the participants.

“Lore” won awards at various smaller film festivals (Hamburg, Hamptons International, Hessian, Stockholm, Valladolid) and nominated for best film at others (London, Sydney). Hollywood News called it a “devastatingly stirring Germany-set drama” and said it was “unquestionably unforgettable”. Variety said it “offers a fresh, intimate and most successful perspective on Germany’s traumatic transition from conqueror nation to occupied state.”

Bottom line – an unusual look at post WW2 Germany that is beautifully photographed and well-acted.

PS - This film would get a 9 out of 10 if Amazon used a 10 point scale.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on December 31, 2013
Kafka once wrote that good art shatters the ice within. Director Cate Shortland`s film, `Lore` comes close to doing just that. A tale of family disintegration set in post-Hitler Germany, `Lore` is a well-crafted and subtly affecting film.

Stunning newcomer Saskia Rosendahl plays Lore, the eldest daughter of a Nazi official who hides his family in the waning days of the Reich. After burning compromising documents of his Nazi past, the father is swallowed up amidst the chaos of the war`s final days. His trophy wife turns herself into the Allies for the inevitable `de-Nazification` process of DP camps and `re-education. `
Lore is left with the unimaginable burden of parenting her younger siblings as they make their way across a devastated Germany in hopes of finding relatives who will take them in. Their journey is fraught with perils of all sorts: starvation, attempted rape, murder and the occupation forces.

When Lore and siblings are caught in the American sector, their game is nearly up. Yet, another refugee, this time from the death and concentration camps, fibs on their behalf, claiming to be their guardian. Lore reluctantly accepts the guidance and help of their Jewish benefactor, Thomas. Having been raised to fear and abhor all things Juden, Lore is confused as to what to make of their new guide and helper.

As the tiny band stumbles ever northwards, truths are revealed and prejudices are questionned. Lore slowly and painfully sheds the lies and bigotry with which she was raised. The sheltered Lore fears not only all things Jewish but even those Germans deemed `subhuman` within the matrix of Nazi ideology. When she meets a local farm boy with a club foot, Lore recoils in disgust and contempt. But it is when she sees pictures of the concentration camps that Lore`s worldview begins to change irrevocably. Could her father have been responsible for such unfathomable cruelty and brutality? Whilst Rosendahl`s Lore wrestles with torment, the background is one of bucolic serenity. The breathtaking cinematography of Adam Agatow contrasts the nastiness of Nazi savagery with the lush and verdant German countryside.

Moreover, the film accurately shows the level of delusion that ordinary Germans harbored towards their leader and their government. In an eerie scene, the children, Hansel and Gretel-like, stumble upon an abandoned farmhouse whose sole inhabitant, a stolid peasant woman, has the children sing Nazi lieders for their bread and makes the defiant claim about Adolf, `He loved us so much. ` As they finally reach their relatives, the children`s aunt sternly lectures them about their parents, `They did nothing wrong! ` In the film`s final scene, Lore has had enough of the lies and deception of her youth and breaks with her past. Subtle and understated, this scene sums up the gentle power of this film.

Agatow`s eye is magnificient. Germany, with her mists, impenetrable forests and gloomy seas is all here. As are shots of amazing portent and precision: the peasant woman`s hands stained black with dye, a cigarette crushed out on a pristine marble floor, the languid, oily movements of a caught lamprey in a fisherman`s bucket, all symbols of greater, more malevolent ills. The film uses a minimum of dialogue. Instead Rosendahl`s Lore and Kai Malina`s Thomas express a complex mix of attraction, fear and mistrust with the smallest of physical details.

‘Lore’ is small-budget gem, just the film for those interested in how external events shape the individual. More than anything, it masterfully captures tyranny`s greatest crime: deception of the innocent.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on October 2, 2013
A beautiful film about how nature eventually overturns all our human contrivances.

We meet Lore (Saskia Rosendahl) and her family in the immediate aftermath of the Nazi capitulation in 1945: Mutti und Vati (German for Mummy and Daddy, though curiously not so translated in the subtitles) are SS functionaries based in Munich who have realised that the game - and quite possibly their number - is up. They hastily pack trunks, burn incriminating evidence, shoot the dog and flee in a canvas covered truck to a safe house in the depths of the Bavarian black forest, but even there they cannot escape the American occupiers' tightening net.

Father (Hans-Jochen Wagner) is silently apprehended and eventually Mother (Ursina Lardi), an archetypal stiff, glacial Aryan, walks out of the woods to hand herself in. She coldly leaves Lore, a strikingly handsome girl of 15, to fend for the family, comprising; sister Liesel (Nele Trebs), twin 7 year-olds Günther (André Frid) and Jürgen (Mika Seidel) and baby Peter (Nick Holaschke). Mutti's parting instructions: head to your grandmother's house in Hamburg: we'll meet you there.

Hamburg is a long way from the Schwartzwald. In her face you can read that Mother doesn't believe they'll make it that far, and doesn't believe she will either. In her face you can read the end of days.

As the children of the deposed murderous elite the children find themselves unwelcome in their rural retreat. Lore packs some things and the children set out: at a basic level, the film becomes a post-apocalyptic road movie, as harrowing as Cormac McCarthy's The Road. The environment they traverse, in human terms, is blasted to hell, but nature is having her traditional ball: the countryside is in beautiful late summer bloom: Adam Arkapaw's luscious cinematography often pauses to observe the moss, mould spores, pollen, flies and ants, which settle, feast and propagate as happily on human remains and the detritus of conflict as readily as on any other flora or fauna.

The children are confronted with the residue, all around, of unspeakable and desperate acts; though, by and large, the survivors are now civil, but they are as untrusting of each other as they are of their American occupiers. The locals still harbour resentment for the Jews, as if they somehow asked for this to be brought on the German people. They are obliged to view photographs of Belsen and Auschwitz as they cue for food, but there is open disbelief at their legitimacy.

Lore is well-raised (in her Nazi household), is disgusted by the squalor and insists at first on cleanliness and orderliness. She is poised precisely on the brink of sexual maturity and is aware that this would have currency in the squalor, where her trinkets and keepsakes have little value. She is also aware in particular of a fellow traveller, Thomas (Kai-Peter Malina), who seems to be tracking the children, and Lore in particular, with nefarious intent. Circumstances throw them together: Thomas reveals himself to be of good intentions, but to Lore's initial horror, bears the tattoos and papers of an Auschwitz survivor.

Over this dilemma the film proceeds: this is Lore's coming of age, it is her revaluation of all values and a study in the triumph of nature - our nature, and nature red in tooth and claw - over the feeble contrivances of frail humans. It is starkly captured, often in extreme close-up and low light: there is a graininess to the film stock which supplements the gritty life of the characters. Saskia Rosendahl's debut performance is quite magnificent: magnetic and enigmatic, and a solid centre to this highly recommended film.

Especially recommended because, for all its apparent Europeanness, it is scripted and directed by Cate Shortland, an Australian. I sat through most of this film thinking, "why can't Anglo-Saxon directors make films like this?", so Shortland deserves special recognition for the authenticity of her vision. Clearly, they can.

Olly Buxton
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
This is a great piece of drama in which you don't have to injection a suspension of disbelief to envision the events as true or actually happening. As others have said the film is beautifully photographed with great acting by Saskia Rosenthal. She plays the 14yo daughter Hannelore Dressler, LORE for short, whose Nazi parents abandon her and four siblings as the Allies close in at the end of WWII, and the parents realize they will be prosecuted and imprisoned. The father simply disappears without further ado, while the mother gives LORE a feeble explanation of being sent to some camp. She leaves Lore a small amount of money and the jewelry she acquired over her lifetime, imploring her to use it to buy food, shelter and transportation for her and her siblings to reach their maternal grandmother's in the country near Hamburg. Considering that Lore's youngest brother was still breastfeeding when his mother abandoned the children, it is up to the now 14yo matriarch of this five person band to see them through. Ms Rosenthal gives a superbly believable and highly emotionally charged performance. That is the basic plot, but what happens along the way to Lore and her siblings is what truly makes this story come alive. Her ingenuity in employing ways of keeping her family alive is amazing. For all those loving drama this will keep you enthralled from beginning to end.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on June 19, 2013
There is no accounting for taste. So I won't argue with those who found the film boring or too painful.

But I found the film to be the most powerful and insightful look at the effect of the relentless indoctrination of German children during Hitler's reign that has ever been presented on the screen.

The acting is pitch perfect.

The slow developing awareness of the young woman that her whole mindset about Germany, the Nazis, and the Jews was an indoctrinated lie, is perfectly written, directed and acted.

There is no other film that has done this effectively.

It is harrowing, provocative, and touching.

If you have any interest at all in the impact of the Nazi's on the children they indoctrinated, don't miss this film.

And, by the way, the Blu Ray itself is excellent. Great visuals, sounds, and short but very illuminating extras.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon June 16, 2013
Very well done film that centers around the sensitive topic of a child ("Lore", short for "Hannalore") coming of age in Germany at the end of the second world war who is bluntly confronted with the realization that she had been misled by much of what had been communicated to her regarding the war by parents and society during prior years. The performance by the actress who plays Lore, Saskia Rosendahl, is wonderful, especially toward the conclusion of the film when her character confronts her grandmother about this deceit, and is told that her parents did nothing wrong (her parents were National Socialists who were sent to camps by the Allies at the conclusion of the war). If you have a chance to watch the DVD, I strongly recommend that you take the time to watch the extras: "the making of Lore", "deleted scenes", "alternate ending", "memories of a German girl", and "panel discussion". Other reviewers here have indicated that they were confused throughout their viewing of this film, and I acknowledge that it is much easier understanding this film for individuals such as myself, a first generation American whose parents lived through the after effects of the war as children. The scene where the children encounter bombed-out buildings for the first time, and everyday scenes such as those involving mushroom hunting (there was no meat) are especially reminiscent of my mother, who grew up in an orphanage in what was to become East Germany. While I do admit that there were two scenes I did not understand, the deleted scenes extra on the DVD explains one of them. Perhaps others might find greater understanding by watching the extras as well. I agree with the director that using the "romantic" alternate ending for this film would have been a mistake, because the chosen ending brings some closure to the struggles that Lore experiences throughout the film. The question and answer panel discussion (which took place following a special screening of the film in February 2013, and includes the director of the Goethe-Institute Los Angeles and a contributing editor for the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles) is interesting and provides fair treatment, but it is not recorded very well, so you may need to view it more than once. While I have read quite a few books of this genre, such as "German Boy: A Child in War" by Wolfgang W. E. Samuel (see my review), this is the first book or film I have experienced which directly addresses such a dramatic shift in attitude as a result of being bombarded head-on by the truth. Well recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon June 13, 2013
One of the great things about movies is that they can take you to places and times you will never see. Some are imagined, and some are real. And some are a mixture. Frankly, I've never given much thought of what became of children, presumed to be innocent, of Nazi Germany's evil establishment. Well, "Lore" gives you a look. Based on an interview (Blu ray extra) with a woman who was in this situation as a child, this is an honest look.

As the Allies swarm Germany and Hitler is defeated, Nazi officers and their families head for the hills. In the case of one family, the father and mother are captured and imprisoned leaving their children to fend for themselves with little more than the clothes on their back, a bit of money and jewelry. Lore is the oldest at 14 or 15 and is played by the striking Saskia Rosendahl in one of the most memorable performances of 2012. She has an 11 year old sister, Liesel (remarkable Nele Trebs), twin brothers and an infant.

As they make their way on foot and eventually by train, to Hamburg where their grandmother and aunt live, they encounter a teenage boy who has eyes for Lore. The boy helps the group get past American soldiers by showing his Jewish papers. Seeing what she believes to be a sworn enemy, Lore keeps her distance. This is a difficult film to watch and could have fallen into pretty standard fare. But director and co-writer (with Robin Mukherjee) Cate Shortland doesn't let the romantic angle control the story.

This is a story about survival. A story about privileged children having to grow up fast. The bleak fortunes of the children is counterbalanced by some terrific photography thanks to Adam Arkapaw and the film has a wonderful score by Max Richter. While the movie is dark and sometimes hard to watch, it is a remarkable piece of filmmaking and I can't say enough about Ms. Rosendahl.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on March 24, 2013
This movie is a beautifully filmed and acted story of a young, post World War II refugee, who walks across Germany with her younger siblings to the relative safety of her grandmother's house. The girl's parents are Nazis, and she has believed that dogma throughout her young life. Shortly into the story, she is helped and then accompanied by another refugee, a survivor of the death camps, on whose assistance the family must depend. Without giving too much of the story away, it dawns on the girl, that her father was not who he seemed to be. Indeed, he was a monster. And her Jewish savior, whom she ridiculed and yet felt a physical attraction to, ended up not being who he said he was either. This is a deeply personal story of one young woman's loss of innocence and evolution as a human being. Through her we see the complex realities of post war Germany and like her, we examine what we regard as truth.
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