06 Mar 2023
Greene’s Film Podcast: The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas
Students at Greene’s College Oxford take a look at the 2008 movie, The Boy in Striped Pyjamas – Konstantin’s pick. It is a historical drama film written and directed by Mark Herman based on the 2006 novel of the same name by John Boyne.
Set sometime between 1939 and 1945, the plot follows Bruno, an eight-year old German boy played by a young Asa Butterfield, whose life is uprooted when he moves to rural Poland when his father, an SS officer is promoted. After noticing a concentration camp from his bedroom window, which he mistakenly believes to be a farm, he befriends one of its occupants, Shmuel, another eight-year-old boy played by Jack Scanlon. As their friendship develops, the lives of the young boys and their families is set down a dark path.
What did our students think?
“A good story, but I have to tack off points because of how everything was handled; some of the writing, how it was shot – it wasn’t a particularly enjoyable experience. I think it may work for younger viewers but not something I would recommend.”
“A strong six. I would have rated it higher if I was younger. I think that the main moral learning that you could extract from this movie was not significant enough for children to be taught that this could happen again and to be conscious about propaganda and how it can influence the way that we think.”
“For an introductory movie to the holocaust for children, I would give it a 7/8 out of 10. However, as a film for general audiences, it presents and discusses the events of the wider cultural context of the Holocaust in a lacklustre way.”
“You can resonate with what happens. You feel sorry for the main characters and the events. However, it’s not accurate enough to the events that took place, so I would take points off.”
“I think that there are large issues with the thematics and the execution of the message that they wanted to portray, and in terms of historical accuracy, it provides a slightly disrespectful view on the Holocaust. I’m not too fond of the acting or the film-making aspects, but these are minor things compared to my previous concern.’
“I personally don’t want to rate this movie. A few weeks ago, it was the anniversary of a tragic event, so I chose this movie as all my thoughts were on that. Perhaps in this podcast we could raise some important questions related to unnecessary war.”