News from the Locarno Festival

A Journey through the Aftermath of Holocaust

A Journey through the Aftermath of Holocaust



Australian writer-director Cate Shortland’s feature debut, Somersault, was launched in Un Certain Regard at the Cannes International Film Festival in 2004; the teenage story of love and sex won 11 Australian Film Institute Awards, just missing out on the two for Supporting Actors.

While signing numerous productions for television, her follow-up on the success, Lore, was seven years in preparation – now it is ready for its international premiere on the Piazza Grande (“It is my first time in Locarno, I just arrived, and I cannot wait to see it – I have heard so much about it”).

After the collapse of Nazi-Germany in the spring 1945, Lore – the daughter of a high-ranking SS officer involved in mass murder, now imprisoned by Allied forces – takes her brothers and sisters in security with their grandmother, a 900km journey up North from Bavaria through the devastated country.

In 1939 he father was a hero, Lore never questioned the Nazi regime – now he came back as a criminal. On the road she begins to see the reality and consequences of her parents’ actions, their support of Hitler and the war, their knowledge of Holocaust atrocities, helped by a young Jewish refugee who joins them.

“True – the aftermath of Holocaust is probably not the most obvious subject for an Australian filmmaker, but my husband’s family is German Jewish – they left in 1936 – so I have had it around me. And I immediately loved Rachel Seiffert’s book, The Dark Room, about these children of perpetrators,” Shortland explained.

“It took long to stage the production – not only because I stayed in Africa for a long period, but also because the financing was complicated, with three countries (Australia, Germany, UK) involved. Although I do not speak much German, I know the film had to be made in that language to be trustworthy.”

“Lore believes in one of the most abhorrent and destructive political ideologies of our time. I wanted to understand her lack of empathy and her romantic determination to stick to it in spite of its defeat. If not totally convinced it was wrong, I think in the end she has started to doubt it,” she concluded.

Starring Saskia Rosendahl, Kai Malina, Nele Trebs, Ursina Lardi, Hans-Jochen Wagner and Mika Seidel, Lore was produced by Liz Watts, for Porchlight Films, with Rohfilm and Edge City Films. Look Now! will release the movie in Switzerland, while Memento Films (France) handles international sales.

Jorn Rossing Jensen

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