Boy in the Striped Pyjamas: Film Notes

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Boy in the Striped Pyjamas – Film Notes

 
“Childhood is measured out by sounds and smells and sights, before the dark hour of reason grows”. John Betjeman   • Est.
 Shot
 –
 blowing
 swastika
 flags
 and
 boys
 playing
 ‘planes’
 through
 the
 streets
 of
  Berlin
 –
 a
 city
 of
 fortune
 and
 prestige.
 The
 boys
 are
 clearly
 innocent
 –
 unaffected
 or
  unworried
 by
 war.
 They
 run
 through
 a
 ‘ghetto’
 village
 –
 Jewish
 people
 are
 rounded
  up
 by
 Nazi
 Soldiers
 and
 herded
 onto
 trucks.
 The
 boys
 do
 not
 take
 notice
 of
 the
  action
 that
 takes
 place,
 showing
 their
 ‘blind
 ignorance’
 to
 the
 plight
 of
 the
 Jewish
  people.
 A
 crane
 shot
 is
 used
 to
 highlight
 the
 poor
 and
 crowded
 living
 conditions
 of
  the
 ghetto.
 
  Shots
 of
 Bruno
 and
 his
 friends
 playing
 soldiers
 show
 an
 admiration
 for
 soldiers,
 but
  an
 ignorance
 of
 the
 realities
 of
 war.
 
  Long
 shots
 of
 the
 car
 travelling
 to
 the
 new
 house
 are
 used
 to
 highlight
 its
 isolation.
  The
 house
 itself
 contrasts
 severely
 with
 the
 previous
 house
 –
 one
 was
 light,
 airy,
  bursting
 with
 colour
 and
 heritage,
 while
 the
 other
 appears
 drab,
 dull
 –
 a
 concrete
  fortress
 which
 fits
 the
 job
 of
 its
 occupier.
 
  The
 intrusion
 of
 soldiers
 into
 the
 house
 highlights
 the
 father’s
 authority,
 and
  positions
 the
 wife
 and
 children
 as
 the
 ‘outsiders’
 of
 this
 place.
 The
 symbolism
 of
  their
 pressed
 and
 imposing
 uniforms
 is
 a
 constant
 reminder
 that
 they
 are
 Nazi
  soldiers,
 representative
 of
 the
 ultimate
 enemy.
 
  The
 repeated
 framing
 of
 Bruno
 behind
 bars
 (window
 slats,
 stairs)
 is
 used
 as
 a
 motif
  to
 symbolise
 the
 feeling
 of
 ‘captivity’
 that
 he
 feels.
 He
 is
 metaphorically,
 a
 prisoner
  of
 this
 world.
 
  Cracks
 in
 the
 parent’s
 relationship
 begin
 to
 appear
 soon
 after
 their
 arrival.
 Elsa
  looses
 control
 of
 her
 family,
 with
 her
 husband
 making
 decisions
 without
 consulting
  her.
 
  Foreshadowing
 –
 the
 smoke
 coming
 from
 the
 crematoriums.
 Bruno
 and
 Schmuel
  talk
 about
 them.
 Bruno
 asks,
 “what
 do
 you
 burn
 in
 those
 chimneys…
 whatever
 it
 is,
  it
 smells
 horrid.”
 The
 tragic
 irony
 of
 this
 statement
 is
 that
 he
 thinks
 that
 it
 is
 the
  Jewish
 people
 using
 them
 as
 chimneys,
 not
 his
 father
 using
 them
 to
 burn
 the
 Jews.
  Later
 on,
 Bruno
 asks
 his
 family,
 “Did
 you
 smell
 that
 awful
 smell
 from
 the
 chimneys
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