Video: Cate Shortland on Lore

Writer-director Cate Shortland, co-writer Robin Mukherjee, actors Saskia Rosendahl and Nele Trebs, and novelist Rachel Seiffert discuss Lore, a powerful drama set in Germany at the end of the second world war.

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Set in Germany at the end of the second world war, Australian director Cate Shortland’s much anticipated follow-up to her debut feature Somersault is based on the second story in Rachel Seiffert’s Booker-shortlisted novel The Dark Room.

When her Nazi SS parents are taken into Allied custody, teenage Lore (newcomer Saskia Rosendahl) and her four younger siblings are left to fend for themselves. Oblivious to the implications of the turn in historical events and indoctrinated in the extreme beliefs of their parents, the children set out on a gruelling 900km journey across ravaged post-war Germany to join their grandmother in Hamburg. Struggling with the responsibility of caring for the children and confronted by the aftermath of Nazism, Lore is simultaneously repulsed, defiant and intrigued when she encounters Thomas, a young Jewish survivor.

Shortland is unswerving in her navigation of this sensitive historical terrain, prising open the ambiguities of collective denial and individual desire. Adam Arkapaw’s (Snowtown; Animal Kingdom) lush cinematography and Max Richter’s (Waltz with Bashir) indelible score collude with the gripping storytelling to enhance the tension between the intimacy of Lore’s awakening and the horror of the broader landscape in which it occurs.

Clare Stewart

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