Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Reader

Anne’s in Auckland. Her son, Jonathan, returns to China next week to do a second stint at teaching English as a second language. The visit also gives her an opportunity to see her sister and family as well as other friends. Jo is house-sitting and looking after me. Last evening she got out the DVD of the movie The Reader.

I have read the novel by Bernhard Schlink and found it very moving and thought-provoking. It provided the basis for a very good film which is all the better for following the text fairly closely. Sadly, the two producers both died before it was released. Kate Winslet as Hannah the illiterate exSS guard was superb, it is no surprise she won the Academy Award for best actress for her performance. Her aging was very credible.

David Kross as the young Michael plays the part of the young adolescent and later bewildered law student very well. The erotic relationship with Hannah after she seduces him leaves him unhappy and morose for the rest of his life. Ralph Fiennes is also excellent as the perpetually perplexed adult Michael, unable to establish good relations with women. The scene where he finally comes face to face with Hannah for the last time is painfully powerful.

In yesterday’s blog I wrote about the camera. It’s a winner in this film. The seediness of the working class suburb contrasts with the beauty of the German countryside. The nude scenes were not voyeuristic. Apparently they were shot last, after Kross turned 18. Court scenes are usually dramatic – this one was. It’s a film I would recommend.

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