After the horrors of World War II came the horrors of reconstruction. The occupying armies divided the spoils, redrew the borders and brought the defeated foes to justice.

The German perspective is effectively dismantled in the coming-of-age drama "Lore." As the Allies march toward Berlin, the Dresslers prepare to flee. Lore's father (Hans-Jochen Wagner) is a swinish S.S. officer who burns his paperwork and shoots the family dog. Her mother (Ursina Lardi) is a severe Hitler loyalist who calls her husband a coward for not fighting to the death.

The family hides at a farmhouse, but when it becomes clear that the parents will both be jailed for war crimes, the mother entrusts adolescent Lore (Saskia Rosendahl) with the family jewels, a rendezvous destination near Hamburg and the care of her four younger siblings.

Despite some exaggerated villains, Cate Shortland's film, based on a novel by Rachel Seiffert, is a rich depiction of postwar Germany through the eyes of an awakening girl. Ravenous Mother Nature is an uncredited co-star in the story, as is Lore's sexuality, which creeps into the foreground when her hungry brood is befriended in a refugee camp by a mysterious young man who calls himself Thomas (Kai Malina).

When Lore glimpses that Thomas' papers identify him as a Jew, the headstrong German girl is disgusted and demands that he keep his distance from her younger sister, twin brothers and infant Peter. But Lore needs Thomas to fetch them food - and to guide her through the thickets of a widening world. Although she initially refuses to believe the photographic evidence of Holocaust atrocities that the Allies have posted in public places, Thomas' kindness forces her to rethink everything she's been taught.




• Not rated, with sexuality, nudity and violence. In German with English subtitles.

• Director: Cate Shortland.

• Cast: Saskia Rosendahl, Kai Malina, Hans-Jochen Wagner.

• Running time: 109 minutes.