Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

Year: 2008
David's Character: Bruno's Father
Director(s): Mark Herman
Other Stars: Vera Farmiga, Rupert Friend & Asa Butterfield
Pictures: Click here
Screen time: Not known yet

This film is based on the book of the same name written by John Boyne. It is a story about a nine year old boy trying to understand what is happening around him in (Out-With) Auschwitz during World War II.

The nine year-old boy Bruno, is the son of strict commander of a Nazi concentration camp. He has a strong headed sister, Gretel (the Hopeless Case). They live in a five story mansion, but are one day suddenly moved to a place called Out-With (Auschwitz). Bruno, angered and confused by his father's decision to move to Out-With, and desperate to go home, spends his time in his room, with no friends to play with. He misses their old five-story mansion, as with such a small space, there isn't any room for exploration (a hobby of Bruno's), misses sliding down the banister in their old house, and misses his friends.

From his bedroom window, Bruno spots a fence behind which he sees many people in 'striped pajamas'. These are the Jews, and they are in a concentration camp. One day his parents come to an agreement that both Bruno and Gretel (his sister) need a tutor for their education so they hire Herr Liszt. To Bruno, Herr Liszt is the most boring teacher one could ever have - because he teaches science (such as geography and history), instead of reading and arts, which Bruno prefers. So, in boredom and confusion he wonders what is going on at Out-With and why people are always dressed in striped pajamas there. On the afternoon he goes exploring. What he finds is a boy, a Jewish boy called Shmuel, a name Bruno has never heard of before but apparently is quite common among Shmuel's own people. He soon becomes Bruno's friend and Bruno goes to see him every afternoon to talk. Bruno is told by his sister that the people in the striped pyjamas on the other side of the fence are Jews and that he and his family are "the opposite". Shortly after this, Bruno and Gretel get a bad case of lice and Bruno has to have his head shaved. This makes him look a lot more like his friend Shmuel and he finds himself thinking that it is as if "they weren't all that different, really."

The story ends with Bruno about to leave Out-With and return to his previous home with his mother and sister. As a final adventure, he agrees to dress in a set of striped pyjamas and climb under a loose wire in the fence to help Shmuel find his father, who has gone missing in the camp. They are unable to find him, and just as it starts to rain and Bruno decides he would like to go home, the people in the area of the camp which the boys are in must go on a 'march'. Neither boy knows where this march will lead. However, they are crowded into a gas chamber, and the author leaves the story with Bruno pondering, yet unafraid, in the dark. The book ends with the effects of Bruno's disappearance on his family and his father discovering his clothes outside the fence, and realising the implications of this.

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