This Wednesday I was at the E Street Theater for an advance screening (courtesy of ScreenIt.com) of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. The movie, set in World War II, tells the story of eight year old Bruno's secret friendship with Shmuel, another eight year old boy behind the barbed wire fence of a Nazi death camp. Bruno is the son of a high ranking Nazi Officer sent to oversee plans to increase the efficiency of the near by "killing factory". Granted, I knew the overall plot of the story before going to see the movie, but I simply wasn't prepared for the mixed emotions that surfaced. The mother's character in particular gave me a greater understanding of what it must have been like for many Germany women. She really embodied the disillusionment and feeling of helplessness that I've read about in other accounts of German woman who claimed not to know of the atrocities that were being committed.
I won't go into too much detail, but the end of the movie left me utterly heartbroken. The entire theater was silent. It's the kind of movie that comes out every few years that everyone needs to see so that we never forget what can happen if good people don't stand up against prejudice and cruelty. I was on cloud 9 after Tuesday night's election and this movie really brought me back to earth. It made me think of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the genocide in Darfur, and places throughout the world, including here in the US, were people are enslaved and oppressed. It made me realize that the election is just the first step and that we have such a long, long way to go.
E STREET CINEMA
555 11TH STREET NW
WASHINGTON, DC 20004