- Entertainment and Media
''The Boy in the Striped Pajamas'' (2008)
''Mother, what is that black smoke coming from that chimney at that farm?''
What are you supposed to answer to a kid who asks you that question when he has no idea of what is happening around him? When that black smoke is actually coming from a concentration camp? Humanity has had many dark moments in his history. Among them are the two big Wars in the 1910s and the 1940s. These two wars together represent ten years of manslaughter and violence among humans and millions of people died during these wars. Since then, several movies have hit theaters in order to show people what happened. Whether they are documentaries or movies, some of them manage to capture the essence and the atmosphere that was palpable during that era. Some of the great movies that attained stardom are ''Schindler's List'', ''Grand Illusion'' and ''La vita es bella'' with the excellent Roberto Benigni. I went to see this movie in the theaters and did not regret it.
Recently, another movie captured my attention in that category; ''The Boy in the striped pajamas''. Thanks to the movie poster of the movie, it's fairly easy to know that it's a movie based on the Holocaust because you can see a kid on a side of a fence with, well striped pajamas. The poster can also speak for itself. The fence between the two boys sets up a line between them but it also lets us imagine of a fictional frontier between two nations. One nation who was enslaved and imprisoned by the other, who was trying to be the supreme race.
This movie follows the son of a German high rank Nazi officer who is promoted to a higher rank and who is transferred to a new location. So the father, mother and the two children follow him. Bruno, his son, is our typical boy (and also the boy in pajamas). He likes playing outside with his friends and reads a lot. When they move to their new place, he has no neighbors and no new friends so he manages to do his usual stuff for a while until he eventually wants to explore his whereabouts. He is a bit naïve though as he does not know what a jew is and how they are being prosecuted by the germans. For him, his father is a soldier and does a perfect job for his country; he is a hero. Bruno has not the permission to go over the house limits but he eventually manages to sneak by and explore!
There is a Jew camp not far from the house and he meets a boy there, who is Jew and a friendly relationship builds up between them. Therefore, Bruno has no idea that he is a jew. For example, he thinks that the number on the prisoner suit of the kid is to play a game. But he does not worry for a second because he now has a new friend to play with and everything else is superficial for him.
The movie captures the essence of the horrors of war. Even if the story is told from the eyes of a young boy, many different aspects of the Hitler era are present in the movie and they are very well described. The only education he has is a tutor who comes home and he is only allowed to read the German Encyclopedia. As it happens in many of these Third Reich movies, the ending of the movie will leave some people speechless and emotions will fly through the roof. If you have a lady with who you can watch this movie it will be perfect, just remember to have some Kleenex nearby.
Give this movie two hours of your time and you will not regret it. The tempo might be a bit slow but it's a really cute movie that should not be missed by anyone.
My final rating of this movie is....4/5 stars!!
The innocence of childhood savagely collides with the Holocaust in The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. Bruno (Asa Butterfield) knows that his father is a soldier and that they have to move to a new house in the country...