Nazi teenager brings an unusual POV to the hypnotic World War II drama Lore 

The Enemy is USA

The Enemy is USA

Cate Shortland's Lore, much like her earlier, acclaimed coming-of-age film Somersault, aestheticizes a subject that feels done to death in contemporary cinema, in this case the World War II Holocaust picture. This time out, however, the protagonist isn't a victim of genocide, but a German teen (Saskia Rosendahl), the titular daughter of dutiful Nazis, on the run with her siblings. It's the closing days of the war, the Allies are swarming all over the ruins of the Thousand-Year Reich, and the kids are hoping to reach what they hope will be safety in Hamburg. They're terrified of Americans and Jews, but things get complicated (for their worldview, at least) when a young Jewish man, Thomas (Kai Malina), saves Lore and her siblings from the Allies by pretending they're with him.

The real attraction here isn't the up-is-down plot, which feels familiar in many ways, but the way Shortland shoots it. She brings to her film a combination of handheld immediacy and an almost dreamlike quality, which serves both the unhinged nature of the world around these characters as well as Lore's mysterious entrée into adulthood. Everything is heightened here, from the sound of crushed leaves, to the way hair tangles in a brush, to the looming skies overhead. The result is a surprisingly hypnotic and strangely tender journey through a world that seems to be equal parts terror and wonder.

Email arts@nashvillescene.com.

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