By Molly Snyder Senior Writer Published Sep 24, 2013 at 2:50 PM

From the beginning, "Lore," which takes place in Germany immediately following World War II, is set in chaos, heartbreak and violence.

Clearly, a German family of five children and two parents is troubled and frazzled. They are packing, burning documents, the father shoots the family dog – and just when we might become deeply concerned about the situation, a swastika emblem on a piece of clothing comes into sight and we realize this is a family of Nazis.

Let the complicated feelings begin.

For the next hour and a half, the storyline – as well as the look and feel of the film – will rival the grimmest of fables. Suddenly without their parents (they were forced to face the aftermath of having connections to a concentration camp), the five attractive, blonde children tromp through muddy hell in the Black Forest on the way to their grandmother’s house.

"Lore," written by Robin Mukherjee and co-written and directed by Cate Shortland, premiered at the 2012 Sydney Film Festival.

Visually, the film is dark and lush. Much of the film is shot "shaky cam" style that adds an urgency and eeriness to it. The acting is honest and raw, an interesting juxtaposition with the fairy-tale nature of the visuals and aspects of the script. (They are, after all, trudging through the woods to their grandma's house.)

The oldest daughter, Lore (Saskia Rosendahl), is gorgeous, conflicted and coming of age. She is forced to herd her flock of siblings, which includes a starving infant screaming throughout most of the film for his mother’s breast.

During one powerful scene, Lore trades a piece of her mom's jewelry for milk from another breastfeeding mother. Even after the woman, who is Jewish, agrees to wet nurse the child, Lore tries to get her to clean her breast before offering it to her under-nourished brother.

Along the way, the children meet up with Thomas (Kai Malina), a concentration camp escapee who, for unexplained reasons, helps the paperless children get past Allied forces. Thomas serves as both target for racist commentary as well as an object of sexuality for the curious Lore, who is both attracted to and repulsed by Thomas, whom she refers to as a "dirty Jew."

One of the film’s many heartbreaks is watching Lore struggle with the awkward, confusing transition from child to woman under such horrible and heart wrenching conditions.

Her denial that her parents – or the Nazi party as a whole – did anything wrong is appalling but understandable, making great commentary on parents’ control over their offsprings' beliefs. And, as many growing teenagers do, it seems Lore starts to question what she's been told by her parents, as well as their political and personal choices.

But it’s not enough.

It isn't that I’m not ready or willing to empathize with the deluded children of Nazis on their horrendous trip as the truth about the Holocaust is being made apparent to Germans everywhere. They endure loss and hardship on a level I, indeed, wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. And they are children – innocent by nature. Their hatred was forced on them. They have the resilience and the time to change.

However, based on the current political climate – one filled with so much racism, hate and the resurgence of Nazism – "Lore" walks a questionable line by giving the children's erroneous and dangerously underdeveloped viewpoint of World War II central consideration in the film.

Putting this perspective "out there" runs the risk of casting the unforgivable in an understandability that consequently makes treating the Nazi youth in their humanity seem more like a political move than an act of compassion.

Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.

Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.