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Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Many a Prophetic Word Spoken in Jest

Michael Berg (Ralph Fiennes) is a dethatched man. Divorced but the father of a daughter he doesn't see enough of, he reflects upon his past. At 15 years old (David Kross) he was struck down by scarlet fever, but rescued by a 36 year old tram conductor called Hanna (Kate Winslet). After a lengthy recovery period he tracks down his rescuer and they begin a secret affair. Hanna is a very mysterious woman who, seeing that Michael is studying classic literature, asks that he read to her before they have sex. Despite Hanna's cold manner and Michael's childlike inexperience, the relationship begins to further develop. Then one day, upon hearing she is to be promoted, Hanna abruptly leaves her apartment without saying a word to Michael. Years later as an undergraduate and whilst attending a trial as part of a special seminar held by a concentration camp survivor, Michael attends a trial for Auschwitz guards who presided over several atrocities at the camp. One particular atrocity involved the deaths of 300 prisoners who were locked into a burning church by the guards. One guard is singled out as the ringleader of this particular crime. Michael is shocked to see that this guard is none other than his mysterious Hanna...