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The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas Case Study

vikiwalden | Thursday September 06, 2012

Categories: GCSE, WJEC GCSE, Analysis, Film Analysis, Films & Case Studies, Non-Hollywood Films, Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, World Cinema, Genres & Case Studies, Children, Drama, Families, History, War, Hot Entries

Paper 2 | Non-Hollywood Film

Synopsis

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8 year old Bruno doesn’t have a care in the world as he pretends to be a plane flying through the streets of Berlin, on his way back from school. He is blissfully ignorant of the terror happening around him – Jewish families being rounded up and transported out of the city. When he returns home however, his family are preparing for a celebration. His father, Ralf, has received a promotion that means they must all leave the capital; a move that will change Bruno’s life forever.

At his new stately home Bruno is sullen until, looking out of the slates that cover his window he notices, what he believes to be a farm beyond the trees. Seeing other children among the ‘farmers’ makes Bruno hopeful it will not be long until he makes new friends. When one of the ‘farmers’ (Pavel) brings vegetables to the kitchen, and Bruno asks if he can play with the ‘farm children’, his father has to explain that they are not what they seem and he cannot play with them. As
Kommandant, his father has been stationed to supervise a concentration cam;, the children that Bruno sees are not (in his father’s eyes) worthy humans – they are prisoners – they are Jews.

Lieutenant Kotler, one of the Kommandant’s soldiers, commands Pavel to build Bruno a tire swing. When he falls, Pavel bandages his leg. Bruno doesn’t understand why Pavel swapped being a doctor to peel potatoes. His loneliness grows while his elder sister Gretel becomes interested in Lieutenant Kotler. Both children are visited by a school tutor who teaches them the Nazi curriculum, while Bruno is a reluctant student – still interested in exploring and fantasy worlds - his sister becomes more committed to the Reich, ditching her dolls and covering her walls in propaganda posters.

One day, while on his swing, Bruno notices the back garden gate is open (an area his mother has forbidden him to go). With his curiosity and sense of adventure...


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