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They smell worse when they burn

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas:  Mom dad and the two kids shift housing and set up digs in the countryside. Dad’s job? He runs a concentration camp and his son gets to talk to a dirty, starving Jewish kid whom he befriends, betrays and then reunites with.  Both end up in ovens.

This movie – based on a novel for children – was overwhelmingly powerful.  Almost too much so.  Too heavy, too sad.  Gripping but, almost, too sad.  It disintegrated into melodrama at the end but I had just about had it by then.   Harrowing – here is a review that I liked – others were less positive in directions I disagree with. It wasn’t so much ‘obvious’ as (this is the key word) harrowing.  A beautiful German boy’s view of war – you almost ended up feeling more for him  than for his comrade.

A great movie that I hesitate to recommend.  See it or, maybe, don’t.  No see it. I am interested in the views of others.

4 comments to They smell worse when they burn

  • Krystian

    I saw it when it came out in London last year. An excellent, but harrowing and sad movie. Really was a different way of illustrating the tragedy of it all. Unique how it used the medium of children, free from prejudices and idealogies that they develop later in life, to show how cruel the holocaust was and emphasise that a human is a human and people cannot let prejudices and idealogies tell them otherwise ever again. Only issues I had with it were that nobody would be able to get that close to a concentration camp fence, there was always a no mans land (but I suppose it was necessary to tell the story itself, which mattered more), and the posh English accents all the Germans had, and the English accents people had in general. But overall a very touching movie.

  • I was so profoundly moved by the picture that I could not get it out of my mind.

  • hc

    Fred, Me too. The holocaust for me has always been a dark nightmare. Its almost a model of how things can go so seriously wrong among what seem to be decent, upright societies. This movie reawakened that nightmare. So too did ‘Life is Beautiful’.

    My view is that societies should not seek to be perfectionist – humans are not good enough for that. We should seek to be not monsters.

  • chavanna

    what page is this on in the book?

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