I was stunned recently. Very much that it took me some time to regain my breath. Couldn’t speak or utter a word for a long time. It was really breathtaking.
From time immemorial, the memorable saga of the Jewish race from the time when Abram was asked to move from Ur right through the messianic times till the Holocaust and the subsequent formation of the nation of Israel to the various Jewish lobbies that control different aspects of the American society from its politics till its culture and various contemporaries, has made for some rollercoaster literary reading that rants well with any reader. Yours truly always made it a point to stay away from any type of movies with underlying political overtones. But the innocent poster of two boys sitting and separated by a barbed wire as shown in the above picture intrigued me to spend some of my time on visualizing the celluloid format inspired by a book (as the poster vividly shows). Expecting a relaxing weekend treat, the movie well started with a whimper.
It began with this obscure Nazi general promoted to a higher rank and leaving his home from Berlin to an obscure area. Bruno his son was lone dissenting voice in the household and was further disappointed when he saw his future home. His sister Gretel too disappointed was relieved to end up liking another German officer at their home. The young kid Bruno who had the dreams of being an explorer despite being dissuaded from exploring the behind woods of the home for it being out of bounds, went and ended up meeting the only boy of his age at that place called Shmuel. Separated by barbed wires, a beautiful friendship grew, stronger when it came to be known that they were enemies. Events later till when Bruno ended up in the gas chambers with Shmuel, innocently and the finally shot of the door to the gas chamber finally shut and the striped pajamas of the prisoners left hanging outside, shook me for sometime. Any calamity man made or else resonates a simple theme for everyone, there are no sides in any conflict. Suffering is universal. It was profound and the message was shattering.
Some of the memorable dialogues from the movie include:
Bruno: I’m Bruno.
Shmuel: I’m Shmuel.
Bruno: That’s your name? I’ve never heard of anyone called that before.
Shmuel: I’ve never heard of anyone called Bruno.
Bruno: Shmuel? No one’s called Shmuel.
Bruno: Why do you wear pajamas all day?
Shmuel: The soldiers. They took all our clothes away.
Bruno: My dad’s a soldier, but not the sort that takes people’s clothes away.
Bruno to Shmuel: We’re not supposed to be friends, you and me. We’re meant to be enemies. Did you know that?
Bruno: There is such thing as a nice Jew, though, isn’t there?
Herr Liszt: I think, Bruno, if you ever found a nice Jew, you would be the best explorer in the world.
Auschwitz Inmate to the kids before the gas chamber: It’s only a shower.