You realize the privileged siblings in the movie Lore are woefully ill-equipped for the task ahead of them--to cover 900 km of ravaged post-war Germany, on foot, without their parents, and with an infant--pretty much the moment they leave the cabin where they hid until their parents were arrested. The camera pans to five children walking across a field in their best store-bought clothes, each holding an impossibly giant suitcase, with the baby thumped over rutted fields inside an elaborate pram.
Lore, which came out in theaters in America in 2013 is, as I discovered yesterday, the exact length of movie you'll need to watch from start to finish of baking Independence Day flag-colored shortcake and berries, and also is a German movie but is not.
German actors speak German in a movie filmed in Germany. But Lore is based on a Booker Prize winning novel by Brit Rachel Seiffert, directed by Australian Cate Shortland with a screenplay written by British-Bengali Robin Mukherjee. It made me think of my other favorite aftermath-of-WWII film, Katyn, which deals with older people in an occupied nation, with more time and space after Germany's collapse; Katyn approaches the question of "What just happened? And what happens next?" with more anger, tar-black humor, and appreciation of absurdity.
Katyn opens with two groups of Poles approaching a bridge from opposite sides.
What are you doing? the first group asks. The Germans are right behind us. Run!
Are you crazy? the second group says. The Russians are right behind us. Run!
With their suitcases and their dogs, their children and their grandparents, with everything they care about and no clear path to safety, both sides do the same thing: they run--towards the middle, towards confusion, towards the shuffle and the disorientation, towards each other.