Monday, February 3, 2014

Innocence Lost

Last weekend I watched The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas for the first time. I was warned that it was an emotional movie. I know it's a few years old, but somehow I never make it to the movies. While the story is sad, the movie itself is so beautiful. I was struck immediately with the music, the lighting and cinematography.
And this little boy, Bruno played by Asa Butterfield. His eyes. His range of emotion. I found myself making the journey with him. I recalled my own childhood experiences when I first encountered evil and tried making sense of it. I remember when I took things at face value without looking for hidden meaning or underling causes.

I love the sweet assumptions made by Bruno about the "people living on the farm" who were "wearing their pajamas." What else would a child think? How could he imagine what cruelty was being inflicted upon fellow human beings? You can tangibly feel his confusion as he tries to reconcile his new-found wisdom about the camp and the role his father plays in running it. Bruno just wants to read adventure stories, and he believes in his own ability to do heroic things. He hatches a plan with Shmuel to sneak into the camp to help him find his missing father.
I don't write about every movie I see, but this had such a profound impact on me. It really is told through the eyes of a child and miraculously guides you through Bruno's path of discovery. And while the adult you is transported back to your childhood, you never truly forget what life and perspective have taught you. Bruno is still mostly innocent, taking things as they come, and your adult heart is breaking because you know the final outcome.

As the closing credits rolled, with tears streaming down my face, I said to myself, "I'm glad I've seen it, but I never have to watch it again." But the images and theme have stuck with me. So before I return the movie back to my brother I want to watch it again, to feel the innocence and simplicity I remember from childhood.

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