Lore (Blu-ray) (2012)
|Year Of Production||2012|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Cate Shortland|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||German DTS HD Master Audio 5.1|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.85:1|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
|Subtitles||English (Burned In)||Smoking||Yes|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
As the Second World War ends, the dedicated Nazi parents of teenager Lore (Saskia Rosendahl) hastily burn documents and prepare to abandon their house in the Black Forest. Although not over-emphasised, we are shown that Lore’s father is an officer and wears the insignia of the SS Death’s Head unit, the unit responsible for guarding the concentration camps. The family tries to hide in the remote forest, but shortly after the war ends Lore’s father is arrested by the US army and her mother follows. Lore is left with her younger sister Liesel (Nele Trebs), twin pre-teen boys and a 7 month old baby; with her siblings she sets out to cross the country to get to her grandmother’s house on the German north coast.
Their journey takes them across the devastated countryside, with its abandoned buildings, ruined cities and displaced people. There is a constant search for shelter and food, especially for the baby. Along the way Lore sees the pictures posted by the US army showing the concentration camps and Nazi atrocities. Lore realises that the German officer in the picture wears the same insignia as her father causing her to doubt, for the first time, all she has been taught about Hitler and National Socialism. Along the way the group meets Thomas (Kai Malina) who helps them and finds food. But he is carrying Jewish identification papers and to accept his help, for Lore, runs contrary to all her Nazi indoctrination. Within this uneasy alliance, the group must face the dangers of the road. And Lore is becoming a woman sexually which complicates things further.
Lore is a joint Australian / German coproduction directed and co-written by Australian Cate Shortland and made in Germany, in German. The film is based upon the book The Dark Room by Rachel Seiffert, which itself is based upon her mother’s experiences at the end of WW2. It is a film about a subject and a period we do not often see, of the effects of National Socialism upon the individuals who lived under it after the end of the fighting. Some of the people Lore meet are still staunch supporters of Hitler, some deny that the pictures of atrocities are genuine, others are not so sure. Clearly, Lore’s father was guilty of crimes against humanity, but to Lore and her siblings he was a loving father. The children, though indoctrinated, were innocent and Lore is about two journeys; one is physical, the other psychological as Lore struggles with her identity as all her beliefs and previously held certainties are stripped away.
Lore is a beautiful and haunting film with stunning photography of the German countryside and a wonderful central performance by Saskia Rosendahl. This was her first film (she is a dancer apparently) and she is seldom off camera. Rosendahl is natural and vulnerable, perfect as an innocent young girl whose entire value system and beliefs are challenged at the same time as she is being forced to grow up all too quickly. The film is shot in almost documentary style, with a handheld camera (which does not, thankfully, jerk around too much) that incorporates a number of close-ups of the haggard faces of weary people, which feels authentic. On the other hand, some of the images of the countryside are beautifully framed; the mud flats of north Germany being only the most stunning example.
Lore is an intelligent and atmospheric film. The characterisations are natural and real, as both innocents and guilty try to survive in a devastated and divided German in the aftermath of war. The film looks beautiful and, to its credit, takes no easy choices and does not quite go where one might expect. Indeed, the ending is uncontrived; it offers no simple solutions and is all the more interesting because of that. Lore is a moving film, well worth seeking out.
Lore is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, the original ratio, in 1080i using the MPEG-4 AVC code.
There are times when Lore looks stunning, particularly images of the German countryside such as the tidal mud flats of the north German coast, or the forests and grasslands of central Germany. The film was mostly shot with handheld cameras intended to give a documentary feel and the result can be that faces are partly obscured or out of focus, or there are shots of hands, or parts of clothing. It does feel real, and is not overdone so it mostly works. However, this means that the film often lacks sharpness. Colours are also quite soft and muted but never looked unnatural, and brightness and contract was consistent.
The film also exhibits heavy grain in most sequences. I would guess that this was deliberate to enhance the realistic, documentary feel, although Cate Shortland in the “making of” makes no reference to this. As a result, detail is sometimes indistinct, especially shadow detail, although blacks are generally solid. There is slight motion blur, but marks were absent.
Burnt in English subtitles are provided in a clear white font. They are easy to read and error free.
The video is heavily grainy which affects detail. As noted, this is a 1080i print, and one may wonder if a 1080p would give better detail.
The only audio choice is German DTS-MA HD 5.1.
The dialogue is clear and easy to hear. The surrounds work constantly with ambient sound, such as birds and insects, effects such as engines and the music. The few gunshots reverberate nicely and there are some directional effects such as voices and engines. The subwoofer provides appropriate support to the music and the train engine.
The music score by Max Richter was atmospheric. It was effective and supported the film’s moods very well.
Lip synchronisation was fine.
A good enveloping audio track.
|Surround Channel Use|
Director / cowriter Cate Shortland talks about the themes of the film, influences and shooting in Germany with a German cast and crew. There is a lot of film footage, some behind the scenes footage and casting footage. Interesting and worthwhile.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The Region B UK version of the film is due for release on 13 May 2013 and technical specifications are not listed. There is no release date as yet for a Region A US version. I can see no reason to wait unless the UK release will be in 1080p.
Lore is an intelligent and atmospheric film. It is well acted, looks beautiful and, to its credit, offers no simple solutions.
The video is only 1080i but is acceptable and the audio is good. The one extra is worthwhile.
|DVD||Sony BDP-S580, using HDMI output|
|Display||LG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||NAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.|
|Speakers||Studio Acoustics 5.1|