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Brought to you by Penguin.Lines may divide us, but hope will unite us . . .Nine-year-old Bruno knows nothing of the Final Solution and the Holocaust. He is oblivious to the appalling cruelties being inflicted on the people of Europe by his country. All he knows is that he has been moved from a comfortable home in Berlin to a house in a desolate area where there is nothing to do and no one to play with. Until he meets Shmuel, a boy who lives a strange parallel existence on the other side of the adjoining wire fence and who, like the other people there, wears a uniform of striped pyjamas.Bruno's friendship with Shmuel will take him from innocence to revelation. And in exploring what he is unwittingly a part of, he will inevitably become subsumed by the terrible process.
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Bruno is initially upset about having to move to Auschwitz and is almost in tears at the prospect of leaving his 'best friends for life', Daniel, Karl, and Martin. From the house at Auschwitz, Bruno sees the camp in which the prisoners' uniforms appear to him to be "striped pyjamas". One day Bruno decides to explore the wire fence surrounding the camp. He meets a Jewish boy, Shmuel, who he learns shares his birthday (April 15th) and age. Shmuel says that his father, grandfather, and brother are with him on his side of the fence, but he is separated from his mother. Bruno and Shmuel talk and become very good friends although Bruno still does not understand very much about Shmuel or his life. Nearly every day, unless it is raining, Bruno goes to see Shmuel and sneaks him food. Over time, Bruno notices that Shmuel is rapidly losing weight.
I can't speak for other people, but for me The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas is a film that can be seen once and once only because the impact is so shattering. Not even a stone statue can be not moved by this film, this child's eye view of the Holocaust.Bruno is an 8 year old German kid whose father David Thewlis is an officer in the Wehrmacht. They're living a nice life in the beginning of World War II in metropolitan Berlin. Thewlis gets orders however shipping him to a command in a nice rural area of southern Germany, presumably Bavaria. Like any other kid he's upset at being dislocated from his friends and his school, but he certainly hasn't much to say in the matter.So the family is uprooted to a lovely pastoral area where Dad's been put in charge of a concentration camp. Not one of the bigger ones like Auschwitz and Dachau, but a small one that his superiors expect Thewlis to run efficiently. Young Bruno has absolutely no one to play with and he wanders over to the camp. His parents feel he's way too young to understand about these things and he makes friends with a kid on the other side of the barbed wire, a young Jewish boy named Shmuel who wears those funny striped pyjamas like everyone else in the camp.Two things struck me about The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas. When I did a review of The Diary Of Anne Frank, the biggest impression I got out of the film was the ordinariness of that small group of Jews hidden in that attic. Who could possibly think these people were any kind of threat to civilization simply for being and believing in their faith? We get to see the other side of the looking glass here, a view of this very average German family, besides young Bruno and Thewlis, there's mother Vera Famiga and daughter Amber Beattie. Famiga is not happy one bit with her domestic situation and it's slowly dawning on her that the politics and policies of the Third Reich is the root of her concerns. As for Beattie, she's really buying into the whole Nazi thing, partly because she's going through puberty and a young and handsome aide to her father played by Rupert Friend is stirring up those first womanly feelings.But to all intents and purposes this is your average German family, not too much different than the Frank family in that attic, but that this regime of hate has made Thewlis a death merchant.The second thing that struck me and it's what gives hope to this crazy world is what passes between Asa Butterfield as Bruno and Jack Scanlon as Shmuel. If all we are as humans are reflections of our parents prejudices there would be absolutely no hope for mankind. But we do grow, we do question, some of us just don't accept everything that's fed to us. We don't see Shmuel's world of the camp until the very end, the boys mostly have contact with a barbed wire fence between them. But we see Bruno and his sister being now home schooled in Nazi teachings and his innocent contact with that kid on the other side of the fence makes him question what's going on.The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas is one of the best films of 2008. You will not forget the performances of Butterfield and Scanlon and the adult cast members. The end will shatter your mind, but the film's depiction of friendship growing in the worst possible circumstances is also a message of hope.
Bruno (Asa Butterfield) is a young boy living in wartime Germany. He is innocent of the world around him. His father Ralf (David Thewlis) gets promoted as the commander of a concentration camp. With mother Elsa (Vera Farmiga) and older sister Gretel (Amber Beattie), they move into a house off site from the camp. Bruno wonders why the farm workers are dressed in striped pyjamas. The kids get a tutor who teaches them propaganda. Their driver Lieutenant Kurt Kotler is a dedicated Nazi. Bruno sneaks out of the house and ends up at an isolated part of the camp's outer fence. He befriends Shmuel who is a boy prisoner inside the camp and visits him time after time. Their friendship grows as Bruno tries to understand the incomprehensible.This is really a fable rather than a historical reenactment. The point of the kids not understanding the situation is compelling at times but at other times seem silly. It may be better for Bruno to say less. Sometimes, his misunderstanding is poignant. The fact that he thought Shmuel was angry at him embodies both. The important subject requires more careful writing. 350c69d7ab