The story of the young girl who is sent to live with foster parents in the middle of World War II-Germany will be on the big screen in UK and Ireland on the 26th of February. The movie is based on the 2005 novel by Markus Zusak “The Book Thief”, which won numerous awards and was in the TheNew York Times Best Seller List for over 230 weeks.
Liesel and her brother are been adopted after their father abandoned the family and their mother had no means to provide them with a decent life, however the brother dies during the journey and at his funeral, the girl picks up a book to remind her of him. She doesn’t know how to read though and her bond with the foster-Papa, Hans Hubermann, is formed, as he tutors her. Her fascination about reading overshadows the uninteresting subject of the book.
In a Nazi burning-book ceremony, Liesel hears about the importance to free German society of “immoral” and “indecent” thoughts contained within the stories, she realises the connection between that people and the disappearance of her father, who was often referred at as communist, and acquire a vague idea of what is going on in the Country. At the end of the event, she collects another book which survived the fire. Ilsa Hermann (the mayor’s wife and a customer of her foster-mama, Rosa Hubermann) witness the incident, but instead of reporting it, she invites the girl into her magnificent library. When their relationship is interrupted later on, Liesel sees herself obliged to “borrow” books from the library. She then aptly gains the nickname “The Book Thief”.
One of the most intriguing points of the story is its narration, made by Death, who is very busy due to the War, tired of his job he wants a vacation but there would be no one to replace him, but mostly who becomes enchanted by the girl while he has to keep an eye for her. Despite the gloomy idea of Death in people’s mind, the character is quite humorous and brings a physiological context to the story when he criticises the human behaviour and morals. He is not “friends with war” and often calls upon God with “I don’t understand” only to answer to himself “But it’s not your job to”, seemingly he has no control over life and death.
To add further conflict to the story, the family gives shelter to a Jew, Max Vandenburg, who has to hide in the basement of their house for obvious safety reasons. Liesel and Max becomes good friends, telling each other stories in their time together. However this relationship has also to come to an end when complications forces Max to leave their house. Will she ever see him again?
The story it is not only a entertainment novel, but puts the reader in contact with what could be the life of the people during Hitler’s Germany, makes them contest actions such a robbery and hiding a person from the government , consequently breaking the law. It also surface our human characteristics and behaviour, portrays the almost impenetrable children innocence in between so much destruction and shows human’s unconditional ability to love.
Packed with so much context and bringing the reader to face their own values, it is not surprising that the movie was anticipated nervousness by the readers, but the long going question about movies derived from books is always there, “Will it portrayal the story thoroughly and fairly?”.
The movie, by 20th Fox Century, stars Emily Watson and Geoffrey Rush as the foster parents, the newcomer Sophie Nelisse as Liesel and Ben Schnetzer as Max Vandenburg. Roger Allam is Death’s voice, and Nico Liersch plays Rudy Steiner, Liesel’s best friend.
It has been nominated to Academy Awards, USA for Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score and won the Spotlight Award in the Hollywood Film Festival. Sophie Nélisse has won the Best Performance by a Youth in a Lead or Supporting Role – Female in the Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards.
In a Press Release the director Brian Percival spoke about his first encounter with the story through an e-mail sent to him about Michael Petroni’s screenplay adaptation of the book. He said: “I read the first page and I said, ‘Oh my lord’ ” and then decided “If I don’t do anything else in my life, I’ve got to make this film.” He also commented about the search for the actress, the novel, its themes, characters and the task to be fair in the representation of the story.
All the information about the release, tickets and cinemas are available at the Official Facebook Page. Enjoy!
With the bravery to survive…