February 5, 2013, 7:00 P.M.
The Ray Stark Family Theatre, SCA 108, George Lucas Building, USC School of Cinematic Arts, 900 W. 34th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90007
Outside the Box [Office] and Music Box Films invite you and a guest to a special preview screening of
Written by Cate Shortland and Robin Mukherjee
Based on “The Dark Room” by Rachel Seiffert
900 W. 34th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90007
Nominated for 8 Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards:
Best Film, Direction, Adapted Screenplay, Cinematography, Sound,
Costume Design, Production Design,
Winner: Best Young Actor - Saskia Rosendahl
Winner: Audience Award, 2012 Locarno Film Festival
Winner: Golden Starfish Narrative Feature Award, 2012 Hamptons Film Festival
Winner: Kodak Award for Cinematography, 2012 Hamptons Film Festival
Winner: Jeremy Nussbaum Prize for Provocative Fiction, 2012 Hamptons Film Festival
Opens in Los Angeles at Laemmle's Royal Theatre in West Los Angeles, Pasadena Playhouse 7, Town Center 5 in Encino, and Edwards Westpark 8 in Irvine on Friday, February 8th, 2013.
The year is 1945. Left to fend for herself when her SS officer father and mother, a staunch Nazi believer, are interred by the victorious Allies at the end of World War II, Lore, a fourteen-year-old German girl (striking newcomer Saskia Rosendahl), must lead her four siblings on a harrowing journey across a devastated country. When she meets the charismatic and mysterious young refugee Thomas, (Kai Malina, The White Ribbon,) Lore soon finds her world shattered by feelings of hatred and desire as she must put her trust in the very person she was always taught to hate in order to survive.
Provided courtesy of Music Box Films. Not rated. Running time: 108 minutes. In German, with English subtitles.
To learn more about this film, visit the Official Website: http://www.musicboxfilms.com/lore-movies-53.php
When I first read “The Dark Room” by Rachel Seiffert, it resonated with me on many levels. The three distinct stories in the novel make history experiential and intimate, as each is told from the perspective of a young person trying to make sense of fascist Germany. The struggles of the characters are disturbing but also utterly moving. I was fascinated by Lore’s internal landscape; a frightening place filled with a strange combination of surety and ambiguity. The book was given to me by Scottish producer Paul Welsh after a screening of my first film, Somersault, in Edinburgh. Liz Watts, my Australian producer, had given the book to my husband as a birthday present a few months before. There was a sense of serendipity.
Rachel writes in fragments, stark observations without commentary. It was frightening to think of adapting her novel to film, as she draws no conclusions. The story was relevant to me, in terms of what it means to be the child of perpetrators. Australia’s relationship to its colonial history is suppressed, and having spent quite a lot of time in post-Apartheid South Africa and Germany, these questions are often in my mind. What would I have done in the midst of genocide and horror? Would I have stood up for the weak and persecuted or rather, like most, been a silent bystander or even worse, complicit.
The story is also close to me as my husband’s German Jewish family left Berlin in 1936. It is his family photographs in Thomas’s wallet. And it is his grandmother’s stories that also tie me to Lore, to wanting to understand this dark and painful time. Although I speak virtually no German, I knew that the film had to be made in that language to have any level of truth. I worked with the German script editor Franz Rodenkirchen and interviewed elderly Berliners who had been members of Hitler Jugend and Bund Deutscher Mädel. Their stories and attitudes and even on occasion, a complicated nostalgia, helped me understand Lore.
The research I did, especially that into the Einsatzgruppen in Belarus, was at times overwhelming. The victims were always just outside of the frame for me. There was no other way of making the film. This was a reality in the filming as well— some of the beautiful houses we used as locations in the former GDR were built by Jewish merchants before the war. Now they stand empty and derelict. Many of the locations, such as the armaments factory, were manned by slave laborers. Now these places are deserted and overgrown.
Lore and her siblings are the privileged children of a high-ranking SS officer involved in mass murder in Belarus. While they play hopscotch, children across Europe are being systematically murdered. Lore’s family is untouched until her father returns from the East in 1945. In 1939, Lore’s father was a war hero; in 1945 when the film begins, he is a criminal. I wanted to understand what this does to the psyche of a child. How does a person grow up knowing that those closest to them have committed unimaginable crimes and that genocide happened in the midst of their “everyday”.
What drew me to Lore and at times repulsed and angered me, was the opportunity to delve into the grey areas. Lore is a believer in one of the most abhorrent and destructive political ideologies of our time. I wanted to understand her lack of empathy, her romantic determination to keep believing, even when Germany was suffering defeat. Hitler was seen not only as her Fuhrer but also as a beloved father figure. As he stated, “The weak must be chiseled away. I want young men and women who can suffer pain." Lore feels it is her duty to carry this pain uncomplainingly.
I was drawn to understand her fight with her own humanity and sense of belonging. The outside world is oblivious to Lore and her siblings’ plight and Lore becomes more and more detached from society. But within her detachment is a growing certainty - she is lost and adrift but she knows something of the awful truth. She has been taught never to question but to obey. By the end of the story, she is full of questions that she knows will never be answered.
Albert Speer’s children stated they could never ask their father about the Holocaust and his role in Germany’s slave labor program. Albert Speer Jr. recently stated, “ The fact is that when he came back home, I could have asked him all those questions. I thought about it and I didn’t do it.” His daughter Hilde stated. “I made it easier for him because I only asked up to a certain point and I accepted the answers he gave me.” His third son Arnold stated simply, “I never asked him anything connected to the Third Reich.” They didn’t ask because they couldn’t bear the answers: the lies or the truth.
Sydney, April 2012
About Outside the Box [Office]
Outside the Box [Office] is a weekly showcase for upcoming releases highlighting world cinema, documentary and independent film titles. Recognizing a need for greater diversity on campus, the series will draw from around the globe to present movies that may challenge, inspire or simply entertain.
To view the calendar of screenings, click here.
Check-In & Reservations
This screening is free of charge and open to the public. Please bring a valid USC ID or print out of your reservation confirmation, which will automatically be sent to your e-mail account upon successfully making an RSVP through this website. Doors will open at 6:30 P.M.
All SCA screenings are OVERBOOKED to ensure seating capacity in the theater, therefore seating is not guaranteed based on RSVPs. The RSVP list will be checked in on a first-come, first-served basis until the theater is full. Once the theater has reached capacity, we will no longer be able to admit guests, regardless of RSVP status.
The USC School of Cinematic Arts is located at 900 W. 34th St., Los Angeles, CA 90007. Parking passes may be purchased for $10.00 at USC Entrance Gate #5, located at the intersection of W. Jefferson Blvd. & McClintock Avenue. We recommend parking in outdoor Lot M or V, or Parking Structure D, at the far end of 34th Street. Please note that Parking Structure D cannot accommodate tall vehicles such as SUVs. Metered street parking is also available along Jefferson Blvd.
Name: Alessandro Ago