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“The Boy in the Stripped Pyjamas.” (2009) Dir Mark Herman BBC iPlayer

boyinthestrippedA story of innocence lost played out to the backdrop of the Holocaust.

An eight year old boy’s father played brilliantly by David Thewlis, is appointed Commandant of an Extermination Camp.

His cringingly ambitious wife is delighted by her husband’s promotion despite her Mother in Law (Shelia Hancock) pointing out the un spoken realisation of what the Nazi regime was all about.

When she discovers the true nature of what her husband is responsible for, family relations begin to un ravell especially when the older daughter becomes inappropriatly enthused about the regime by her home tutor.

In the midst of all this the boy sees a “farm” from his window and when he spots children there his curiosity and desire to make friends sees him sneak off to the perimeter fence where he meets the boy dressed in concentration camp garb.

Their friendship blossoms, but certain realities begin to dawn, and he can’t understand why his Mother is always upset and arguing with Dad whilst Big Sister exchanges dolls for posters of the Furher.

90% of this film is fantastic, subtle and challenging but is marred by one of the most crass endings to a film I have seen for many a year but this doesn’t detract from a reflective take on the issues of domination and the allure of power in the hands of inadequates.

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About dermotrathbone

Writer and co author "Through Red Lenses". Activist Unite the Union, Save Our NHS Hull. Fan of Yorkshire County Cricket Club, Hull FC, Munster and Ireland Rugby. Views are mine alone and may not reflect the organisations concerned.

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