I just saw the film "Lore" based on a book The Dark Room about a 14-year-old girl who travels with her young brothers and sisters across the savage landscape of post-WW II Germany to find her grandmother.
This subject fascinates me because I write a book series: Far and Away about children displaced and relocated during WWII. My middle-grade and YA novels include True Brit about an English girl who flees war-torn London for sunny Santa Fe and the most recent, Forced Journey: The Saga of Werner Berlinger about a German-Jewishboy who leaves Nazi-held Germany for the United States, hoping his family can follow. The theme of Far and Away is "sometimes you have to travel far and away to find your best self". That's certainly true for Lore, the 14-year-old who is featured in the recent film. She's a lovely innocent, yet she's also clearly tainted by the fascistic Nazi obsessions of her parents and other Germans of the time. There's this strange dichotomy between the simplistic notions of Lore and her siblings who cling to a gentle china faun (sort of reminiscent of the glass collections owned by the excessively-shy sister in Glass Menagerie) and the children singing and dancing sweet German folk melodies and their fierce hatred of Jews and others who don't belong to their culture.
Lore wavers between these attitudes, just as she wavers between childish innocence and budding sexuality. In the scene's climax, she crushes the faun and other china creatures under her heel -- she's so outraged with being deceived by her parents. And so unprepared to deal with life's real exigencies. Earlier in the film she's buried in the mud a picture of her father (who has claimed to be defending the homeland in Belarus) along with a picture of starved concentration camp victims -- she doesn't understand exactly how the two are linked but understands there's some connection and so she despises both.
It occurs to me that my books are simplistic to a degree also. Perhaps that's why I choose to write for children...it's an excuse (professional and personal) for not delving more deeply into complexity, ambiguity, and the lies we perpetuate about our culture, our families, our selves. Movies like "Lore" inspire me to reach further....rz