The boy in the striped pyjamas - David Thewlis, Vera Farmiga, Rupert Friend, Mark Herman
Threat advisory: Elevated - Significant risk of entertaining activities
Lines may divide us but hope will unite us.
The boy in the striped pyjamas is a fictional story that offers a unique perspective on how prejudice, hatred and violence affect innocent people, particularly children, during wartime. Through the eyes of an 8-year-old boy largely shielded from the reality of World War II, we witness a forbidden friendship that forms between Bruno (Asa Butterfield), the son of Nazi commandant, and Schmuel (Jack Scanlon), a Jewish boy held captive in a concentration camp. Though the two are separated physically by a barbed wire fence, their lives become inescapably intertwined. The imagined story of Bruno and Schmuel sheds light on the brutality, senselessness and devastating consequences of war from an unusual point of view. Together, their tragic journey helps recall the millions of innocent victims of the Holocaust.
Theatrical propaganda posters
Target demographic movie keyword propaganda
- Film drama war Auschwitz Germany World War II Jew internment Nazi child Holocaust civilian children
Persons of interest
- Vera Farmiga
- David Thewlis
- Rupert Friend .... Lieutenant Kotler
- Richard Johnson
- Sheila Hancock
- Jim Norton
- David Heyman
- Asa Butterfield .... Bruno
- Cara Horgan .... Maria
- Amber Beattie .... Gretel
- Jack Scanlon .... Schmuel
- Béla Fesztbaum
- László Áron
- Henry Kingsmill
- Domonkos Meinberg
- Gábor Harsai
- Zsuzsa Holl
- Zac Mattoon O'Brien
- Domonkos Németh
- John Boyne .... Author
- Mark Herman .... Screenwriter
- Mark Herman .... Director
Cinematic intelligence sources
- The boy in the striped pyjamas official movie site
- The boy in the striped pyjamas film production notes
- The boy in the striped pyjamas QuickTime movie trailers
- Awards and film festivals:
- British Independent Film Awards 2008: Won: Best Performance by an Actress in a British Independent Film (Vera Farmiga)
- Studios and distributors:
Special Agent Matti
The boy in the striped pyjamas is the first film I've seen about children's experience of the Second World War (I vaguely remember The Flaxton Boys but that was TV and I've never even read The diary of Anne Frank - that would be rude). The best part of this film is that it's entirely from the kids' point of view. Adults tell lies and don't explain things properly. Children are dragged around the country with no say in the matter. Of course, it's all a metaphor, mixing the innocence of childhood with the innocence of the German people (no-one wrote on the voting forms that there'd be concentration camps, mass-murder or small men in big uniforms). The only thing that one can do with innocence is to take it away and this film does that in spades. Be prepared for some horrendous irony.
Asa Butterfield and Jack Scanlon are perfectly innocent (ie not in the least bit sickly sweet, just lost in the brilliant summer of childhood), they're a joy to watch (especially with the added flavour of irony). The most awful performance goes to Rupert Friend as the Nazi chauffeur: he portrays the schizoid nature of the Nazis perfectly. Talk about scary (he's almost as good as Ben Kingsley in Sexy beast).
The boy in the striped pyjamas is one of the few films that I would enjoy watching again (and again) because it's not about twists - from the first frame you know what is going to happen in the last scene - it's written with the full awareness that history provides in re Jews, Germans and everyone's favourite Austrian interior decorator. John Boyne has written a story about children that adults read with the full knowledge of the Holocaust. The failure of the children to understand what is happening to them provides such a delicious irony that I want to go back for more. It's not surprising that this is a British film and not a Hollywood one.
The drama, war movie The boy in the striped pyjamas is directed by Mark Herman and stars David Thewlis, Jack Scanlon, Asa Butterfield.
Government security censorship classification
M (Holocaust themes)
94 minutes (1:34 hours)
Not for public release in Australia before date
Film: 23 April 2009