The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is a 2008 drama based on the novel of the same name by Irish writer John Boyne. Directed by Mark Herman and produced by David Heyman, actors featuring are Asa Butterfield, Jack Scanlon, David Thewlis, Vera Farmiga and Rupert Friend.
SS officer Ralf (David Thewlis) and his wife Elsa (Vera Farmiga) move from Berlin to the countryside with their children, Gretel (Amber Beattie) a twelve year old girl and Bruno (Asa Butterfield) eight years old . Meanwhile Ralf is promoted to commandant of a Nazi concentration camp. Bruno refers to the camp as “out-with”, though later in the film, his sister said that pronunciation is incorrect, which gives the impression that camp is Auschwitz.
Having been forbidden to leave the front yard of the house, without friends, Bruno misses adventure and company . He eventually escapes through the window shed in the backyard of the house, exploring the woods, and finally reaching a secluded corner, unguarded concentration camp, which he believed to be a farm. There he befriended with Shmuel (Jack Scanlon), a boy of the same age. Bruno returns frequently, bringing his friend Shmuel food and playing with his barbed wire fence. Shmuel eventually makes Bruno realize gradually that people are not farmers camp as he thought. He tells Bruno that he and his family were imprisoned and forced to wear pajamas “striped”, because they are Hebrew.
Bruno and Gretel’s teacher, Herr Liszt (Jim Norton), was feeding the children a diet of bigotry, anti-semitic and nationalist propaganda pretext that teaches history. Therefore, Gretel becomes increasingly fanatical in its support for the Third Reich. He covers his bedroom wall with Nazi propaganda posters, and flirts with Lieutenant Kurt Kotler (Rupert Friend), cruel and ruthless subordinate to her father. Instead, Bruno is skeptical of the teachings of Liszt. Jews known by Bruno are Shmuel and Pavel (David Hayman), and they do not resemble to the teachers described anti-Semitic stereotypes. He is also a witness to acts of cruelty to Hebrew, which conflicts with the idea of heroism military propaganda. One night, Pavel accidentally overturns the table Kotler’s wine glass, and he angry pulls Paul into another room . Through the cracked kitchen door, we see Kotler’s boot delivering wild blows, and we are left to believe that man dies from brutal beatings. After Paul’s death, Shmuel is sent to Bruno’s house to clean some glasses. Surprised to see him there, Bruno speaks and gives him some cake. When Kotler sees crumbs on Shmuel’s lips and accused him of stealing, Shmuel tells the officer the truth: that Bruno is his friend and that he gave the cake. Terrified, the child betrays Shmuel, saying he saw the boy before and that Shmuel has stolen cake. A few days later, full of remorse, Bruno goes to the fence where he met Shmuel and finds that his eye was purple from the beating received. Shmuel forgives his friend and the boys shake hands through the fence.
When Kotler comment on the stench from the crematoriums (“They smell worse when they burn, do not you?”), Elsa realizes that Ralf presides an extermination camp, not a labor camp as she was led to believe. Subsequently, the two quarreled repeatedly because of Ralf’s role in child raising. Finally, Elsa will take the children to Aunt Lotte in Heidelberg. But, one day before the departure of Bruno, Shmuel reveals that his father had gone to the camp. Seeing an ideal opportunity for a final adventure, Bruno digs a pit under the barbed wire prison clothes that Shmuel has stolen for him, and enters the camp to help his friend to find his father. Inside, Bruno is terrified of dehumanization, starvation and disease present; camp is the very antithesis of propaganda film that we saw earlier in his father’s office.
While the boys are looking for Shmuel’s father, their path crosses that of a group of prisoners who were directed to the gas chambers. There, everyone is instructed to undress for a “shower”. A soldier is seen wearing a gas mask Zyklon B, and granular flows in the room. Bruno and Shmuel to grab each other’s hands, and the lights go out.
Back at home, Elsa discovers that Bruno is missing and gives an alarm. Using tracking dogs, Ralf and other other officers take the forest trail. When he discovers clothes thrown on the outskirts of the camp and sees the hole dug under the fence, Ralf runs the camp, and starts desperately to search for his son. Seeing the chamber with the doors locked, Ralf realized what happened and he starts a cry filled with pain. Meanwhile, Elsa and Gretel arrive at the outskirts of the camp where Bruno had left his clothes and, realizing that he died, they kneel and begin to cry. The family is left to deal with tragic irony that Bruno became a victim of Nazi camp led by his own father.
Watch The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (2008) (playlist 1 hour, 28 min) – Turn off the lights
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas,