Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

This is not a movie to watch after a bad day. It’s a tear jerker, but oh so good. The story is about a little boy growing up in Nazi Germany. His father gets a promotion and the family has to move from the home they loved in Berlin to a place far away in the country. What the boy doesn’t understand is that his father’s new job is running a concentration camp.

The boy is very lonely as there aren’t other children to play with. He wanders off and eventually makes a friend of a boy in the camp about the same age. They play checkers etc. through the wire fence.

The ending is unexpected and I won’t give it away.

The movie has a great moral point. It’s easy to justify something as long as it’s happening to someone else.

One thing I liked about the movie is that to me, it really felt like Germany. I don’t know where it was filmed, but one thing I remember fondly about Germany is that it was always green. Even in the dead of winter when all the leaves were gone from the trees, it was still green. Germany gets so much rain and moisture that the grass always stays green and green moss grows on everything.

The house that the family moves to at the concentration camp also reminded me very much of some of the houses we lived in – built in the 1940s or 1950s. Of course Germany is full of quite beautiful old houses, but a lot of the construction was post-war.

On a darker note, the absurd notion that the camp was hidden hit home. Many Germans that I knew who lived in Germany during the time of the war would tell you they had no idea what was going on. Probably some of them didn’t – but many others had to have known.

Although the house is some distance from the camp, the boy still finds it. How could he not?

It reminded me of this place near where we lived in Germany. It was a huge cement structure on the Wesser River, a quarter of a mile long with walls 15 feet thick. It was a repair facility for German submarines built by French, British and American prisoners of war. When one of the prisoners would pass away, they’d just dump his body into the cement mix and force the workers to keep working.

Literally only yards away is the cutest, quaintest village. There’s a bakery right there that always had the best looking pastries in the window.

How could no one have known?

Enough of my memories. It’s an excellent movie. I give it five out of five spoons!

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