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Tonight, two movie recs and not much else; it's been a meh kind of week, sigh. Had my 47th birthday two days ago, got some nice gifts and took a trip to the bookstore with one of my daughters, which I always enjoy, followed by Chili's take-out for dinner. Still couldn't find the parts I need for my stupid car to fix the parking lights so it will pass vehicle inspection by month's end, so that annoyed me muchly. Finally ordered them online and I hope I chose the correct sockets sigh. Anyway!....on to the recs.

The first one is for a movie called "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas." This movie upset me so much and yet was also beautiful in one sense; it was difficult to watch and to be reminded of man's terrible inhumanity to man, but it was also a soul-stirring tale of a pure, simple friendship that knows no race, color or religion as well as offering a view of the priceless innocence of children juxtaposed alongside the heinous, willful blindness of adults. The story revolves around a young boy whose father becomes an SS officer in Germany and moves his family to a house right outside a concentration camp; while the boy's mother maintains a stubborn blindness to the horrors taking place basically right outside her door, unable to reconcile the image of her beloved husband as a genocidal monster,  and while his big sister becomes an ardent follower of Hitler's Youth, the young boy, eight year old Bruno, is merely lonely and isolated in his new home and chafes at being forbidden to explore beyond the yard of his new home. When he sneaks over the garden wall one day and stumbles upon the barbed wire fencing of the concentration camp, he discovers an 8 year old Jewish boy huddled on the other side of the fence, clothed in what Bruno calls striped pajamas. Bruno innocently strikes up a conversation with the little boy, asking his name and why he's dressed like that and can't really understand why his new friend Schmo (sorry, I don't know the proper spelling) can't just come over and play with him. The friendship that springs up between the two boys is a beautiful but oh so poignant thing to see, and Bruno begins sneaking food to his half-starved Jewish friend  as well as bringing toys he wants to share. As the movie progresses and Bruno sees how his father and all the SS officers coming and going mistreat the few Jewish prisoners who are picked to serve inside Bruno's home pretty much as enslaved workers, Bruno can't reconcile his former view of his father as a hero with the things he knows now. He asks Schmo what HIS father does for a living, and the young Jewish boy sadly explains that once his father was a watch maker but now he just slaves in the camp all day; when Bruno asks if he always respects his father, Schmo replies of course, don't you admire and respect YOURS, not realizing that Bruno's father is the head of all the SS soldiers Schmo finds so abusive and terrifying. When Schmo's father is taken off on a 'work detail' and never returns, Schmo shares his worry and grief with Bruno, and by now Bruno, though only 8, knows something horrible is going on within the walls of the camp. He can smell the horrible stench of burning bodies night and day, a smell his parents stoically and staunchly refuse to acknowledge when Bruno asks about it; when Bruno's mother finally admits to herself what is going on within yards of their new home, she can't take it anymore and demands that her husband allow her and the children to move back to the city. Bruno doesn't want to leave his litlle friend from the camp, and what happens next is a tragedy that had me clutching my stomach and crying and feeling ill to the depths of my soul all during the last part of the movie. So, as I said before, this is a very emotionally ravaging film but I think a very important one; as our children move further and further away from the 20th C and the last survivors of those infamous, heinous concentration camps, we need to never let the awareness of this dark, horrible time of unimaginable human cruelty fall from our collective consciousness. I can only pray, as  unspeakable atrocities and suffering continue to take place in various countries around the world, that upcoming generations will someday, somehow, move beyond this lowest, darkest, most evil part of human nature into something closer to what I'm sure God meant us to be. 

The second movie is a foreign (Asian) film  with English subtitles called "Eternal Summer", a small gem of a movie (imo) which tells the story of a sort of love triangle between a girl and two young men who have been best friends since childhood. The blurb for the movie reads as follows: "Studious Johnathan and rebellious Shane first meet as elementary school classmates. Years later, when a new girl arrives in school, she quickly falls for Johnathan, but he rebuffs her, and she turns her affections to his best friend, Shane. A love triangle develops, leaving Johnathan questioning his sexual identity and his true feelings for Shane in this sensitive coming-of-age film." Basically Johnathan discovers between high school and college that he has fallen in love with Shane, but by the time he comes to that realization Shane has begun secretly dating Carrie, who first made a play for Johnathan but when she tried to get amorous Johanathan couldn't go through with it. Carrie is aware that Johnathan is in love with Shane, so she doesn't really want Shane to tell Johnathan that they are now 'together'; she doesn't really do it in a jealous or vindictive way but actually is trying to keep the boys' friendship together because she is unsure how Shane might react to the knowledge that Johnathan has sexual/romantic feelings for him. So it's a complex, layered movie and you feel for all three characters caught up in this triangle that revolves around Johnathan and Carrie's love for Shane and his need to have both of them with him. There are no menage-a-trois scenes, sorry folks, ha, just one scene with Carrie trying unsuccessfully to seduce Johnathan and another, quite lovely homoerotic scene between Johnathan and Shane. I don't really know why, but this movie just touched me and pointed out how complicated and messy and painful even the closest of relationships can be. I don't recall the rating for "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas," and this second movie has no rating (NR).


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