The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas - Year 10

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The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas Teresa Ip

Mark Herman, the director of the film, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, uses significant film techniques to create empathy towards the Jewish people involved in the Holocaust. Herman delivers thought provoking ideas to illustrate the horrid events the Jews had to suffer. The significant themes that are conveyed in this film are truth and revelation, betrayal, human suffering and death. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas was set in 1942 at Auschwitz, Poland and is a historic didactic representation of the Holocaust. Truth and revelation, betrayal and death are important themes because Bruno’s betrayal of Shmuel, an inmate of the Nazi concentration camp, leaves him in a situation where he must attempt to properly mend his relationship with Shmuel, by going inside the camp to look for his father. This results in a tragic ending of both boys and they represent the thousands of people killed during the Holocaust.

The truth and revelation of the Holocaust are portrayed through the use of several dramatic film techniques allowing the audience to empathise for the Jewish people involved in the Holocaust. The audience is in disbelief and are horrified that the Nazi soldiers could be so inhumane. Truth and revelation are realised in the scene where Elsa discovers the truth about her husband’s work in the Nazi concentration camp and her opinion of him immediately changes forever. Herman uses the dialogue with Lieutenant Kotler’s rhetorical question, to Elsa, Bruno’s mother, “They smell even worse when they burn, don’t they?” to create the moment of truth for her and the audience. In this scene as the audience begins to understand the real truth and horror behind the Holocaust, they also begin to empathise with the Jewish people as the gravity of the situation begins to sink in. Furthermore, the symbolic allusion of smoke is a visual representation of the bodies being burned. The director uses this technique as a way to...
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