Adapted from Rachel Seiffert’s 2001 novel The Dark Room, Lore presents the dissolution of the Third Reich through the eyes of a teenage girl raised in its midst, her family’s pro-Nazi world view capsized by defeat. The titular protagonist (impressively played by Saskia Rosendahl in her screen debut) is a complex creation – too young to share her parents’ complicity, but having assimilated their anti-Semitic values nonetheless. This mix of innocence and ignominy creates a keen dramatic tension, keeping audience sympathies tentative and in flux.
Tasked with looking after her younger siblings following her parents’ arrest, the plot follows Lore’s journey through occupied Germany – a tumult of grief, guilt and denial pervaded by terrible suffering. With careful poetry, director and co-writer Cate Shortland builds an immersive narrative from vivid, sensory details, lingering on the crunch of eggshells underfoot or the revulsive intimacy of ants crawling on corpses. The result is a stimulating portrayal of an under-examined aspect of Nazism’s terrible legacy. [Chris Buckle]