The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is a heartbreaking drama directed by Mark Herman. The film is based on the story of friendship between a Jewish boy and the son of a concentration camp commandant, set out in the novel of the same name by John Boyne, which became a world bestseller in 2007. War is always a tragedy, but nothing makes the heart shrink so much as the presence of children in the war. But this is not just another film about World War II. This is a unique story in which the author of the book and the creators of the film laid a special meaning. Which? Let’s figure it out.
What is The Boy in the Striped Pajamas about?
The main character of the picture is an eight-year-old boy named Bruno, who is forced to leave his native Berlin and move with his family to a small German town. The reason for the move is the increase of the boy’s father. Now Bruno is the son of one of the leaders of the concentration camp. The boy does not like this town, because it is boring, gloomy and dull there. Not even peers to play in the yard. Soon Bruno finds something strange – a settlement in which all the inhabitants are wearing striped pajamas. Propaganda strongly influenced the citizens of Germany, so Bruno saw a lot of ideological films. Based on them, he concluded that people in pajamas live on a kind of farm, where they work and live in quite favorable conditions, where nothing limits their freedom. Having nothing to do, the hero often walks near the fence of this “farm” and during one of the walks he meets a boy named Shmuel, who is his same age. Children begin to make friends, communicate, play checkers over the fence. Bruno’s father does not support his son’s actions, and the boy has to hide his walks to the camp. But not only German children know nothing about the true horrors of war. Bruno’s mother often complains about the strange smell in the town. When she finds out that the bodies burned in crematoria smell like this, she decides to immediately take the children as far away from here as possible. Bruno goes to meet a friend to say goodbye. But Shmuel had a misfortune – his father disappeared. Bruno realizes that he cannot leave his friend in this position. Through a tunnel, he penetrates the fence and changes into striped pajamas. The boy begins to understand how different his thoughts about the “farm” and the real state of things are. Encouraged by Shmuel, Bruno continues his search for his missing father. When Bruno’s parents sound the alarm about their missing son, he, along with his friend and other prisoners, dies in the gas chamber.
The meaning of the film “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas”
This tragedy is primarily about what a terrible and ruthless thing is war. It does not spare any of the parties, neither children nor adults, neither military nor civilians. For thousands of years of history, people have not learned the main lesson: there is nothing worse than war. But there are things stronger than her. This is the light of a child’s soul, its nobility and purity of impulses. Bruno and Shmuel were brought together by age, loneliness and childish naivety. But their friendship turned out to be so strong that Bruno risked stepping into an unknown world and did not back down, even when he found out his true nature.
It is important to note that this friendship is not just a free boy with a prisoner. This is the friendship of a German and a Jew. One of the messages of the film is the condemnation of the division of people into higher and lower according to nationality. With the help of propaganda films, Hitler was able to convince his people that all Jews, without exception, are evil and interfere with the construction of their great state, in which everything will be fine for everyone. Little Bruno, although brought up in an ideology, is in no hurry to blindly believe it. At first he was afraid of Shmuel, but then he realized that he was completely safe and began to criticize the words and actions of the household. Bruno’s mother Elsa is also an indicative character. She knew nothing about the horrors that take place near their house, about what kind of smoke comes from the pipes. And when her husband began to argue, she remained true to the conviction that you cannot build happiness on someone else’s misfortune. In this way, the film shows us that not all Germans were fascists and that they are also victims in some way – victims of total brainwashing. Take at least Bruno’s sister. She left her dolls in the basement and decorated the walls with posters of Nazi symbols in anticipation of a better future.
It was the child who became the main character because of the childish desire to understand where is good and where is evil. Together with him, the viewer must look at the situation from a third side and understand that everywhere there is good and bad, that everyone suffered in the most terrible war in the history of mankind. That the most terrible monster on the planet is the man himself. And there is no one nobler than a man.
The meaning of the ending of the film “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas”
There is nothing worse than a movie with a bad ending. But with all the desire, it would be hypocritical to give such a story a happy ending. Because in the end, war spares no one. Even the son of one of the leaders of the concentration camp could not escape her permissive power. From the film, we must learn the following lesson: there is nothing more valuable than a peaceful sky above your head and a reliable friend nearby; there is nothing worse than blind hatred, confidence in one’s right to decide fate.