The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
Winter 2009 Edge series
Sunday, February 15, 2009 at 4:00pm
Sunday, February 15, 2009 at 7:00pm
Directed by Mark Herman
Screenplay by Mark Herman
Starring Vera Farmiga, David Thewlis, Rupert Friend, David Hayman
Rated PG ·
United Kingdom, United States
Based on the novel by John Boyne, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is a wrenching Holocaust story about a young German boy and his forbidden friendship with a Jewish child. Bruno is living a charmed life in Berlin as the son of a high-ranking Nazi soldier, when his father is suddenly transferred to a job out in the country. Bruno, as well as his sister Gretel and mother must all join him at his new post. Bruno is lonely and confused by his new surroundings, and he doesn’t understand why he can’t wander the grounds or play at a nearby farm.
The “farm,” of course, is a concentration camp, though Bruno doesn’t know this. He soon sneaks away to explore, and meets Shmuel a prisoner of the camp. Shmuel is eight, the same age as Bruno, and the two form a timid, careful friendship, playing checkers and catch through the barbed wire fence. Bruno knows that his friendship with Shmuel is dangerous, but after witnessing brutal violence perpetrated against some very kind people, he has begun to question the Nazi doctrine of hate. He is no longer sure what to make of his soldier father, whom he once believed to be a hero.
When he learns that Shmuel is in trouble, he vows to help him, and together the boys form an outrageous plan that culminates in the film’s devastating climax. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is a deeply moving and–it must be said–disturbing movie. But it is a remarkable story, told with masterly intelligence and grace.