This film has been around for a few years, but I only had the opportunity to view it last night. It contributed to troubled sleep the rest of the night.
Naturally for any film attempting to address the Holocaust, this work deals with the horrors of that surpassing act of inhumanity. But by placing the primary focus on a child, on two children, this work evokes an emotional level not reached by many other films. For behind these children’s suffering always lies the child’s unanswerable question, Why?
The film naturally addresses the reality of inhumanity, but neatly summarizes how easy it is to dehumanize others and then treat them inhumanely. When young Bruno asks his father about the people on “the Farm” (as he imagines the camp to be), he receives the halting answer, “Those people... well, they really aren't people.” That is it, in a chilling nutshell.
The film is beautifully made, with fine performances and skillful direction. It builds rather like a Mahler symphony to its inevitable and tragic end, and is profoundly moving and disturbing, perhaps most of all because that question is left hanging in the air: Why?
Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG