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THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PAJAMAS

The Look of the Film and Filming Locations
The entire behind-the-scenes creative team, including cinematographer Benoit Delhomme, production designer Martin Childs and costume designer Natalie Ward was committed to bringing authenticity, respect and attention to detail to capture one of the darkest periods in history.

The emotional resonance and impact of the shoot, particularly for the Hungarian crew, can not be underestimated. "The crew was constantly and acutely aware of Hungary having supported Germany during both World Wars, and understood the specificity of the story to the 1940s,” says producer David Heyman. "They have lived through officious, authoritarian regimes, and I think they were very sympathetic to all the contemporary echoes of that era. I always sensed the passion that our crew had for this particular job."

Cinematographer Benoit Delhomme had read the book at one sitting, and had a passionate commitment to bring the story to life. "This is not a film about pretty pictures,” says David Heyman, "and Benoit brilliantly realized the moments of discomfort, the awkwardness as well as the beauty. Sometimes the frame's a little messy; you've got the head of a character in the foreground, blurred. It's not always very neat, but at the same time, it's appropriately, eloquently shot.”

"When I began this picture,” says production designer Martin Childs, "Budapest had already been selected and I made my first trip there to see what kinds of locations were available to us. It was a very reassuring visit. I knew we had a lot of work to do to get it right but the city has an innate, Middle European ‘rightness' already. 'In the script, the sets seemed to design themselves; the story has a very clear geography, with contrasting places, which worked out the architecture for me; which worked out the relationship of all the spaces, how they worked with one another.'

For example, the opening scenes in the film are part of a montage of Bruno and his friends running through the streets pretending to be Messerschmitts. They're seduced by the ‘glamour' of the war and they are on their way home from school. I wanted their journey to be through several different neighbourhoods - the wealthier parts of Berlin and the parts that their mothers wouldn't approve of. We didn't want a montage of heritage sites, but rather we wanted to get several social strata into the opening sequence of the film.”

"Early on, I knew I'd have to build the camp house,” says Childs. "You go through the motions of trying to find something that works, but in the end we built it from the ground up, by a forest, which is what the story needed. The concentration camp itself needed to be carefully researched because you discover that there was a great deal of variety from one to another – although all with the same purpose. We were very careful in our design for the fence where Bruno and Shmuel meet, with the brown and grey background behind Shmuel and the bright, green forest behind Bruno. As the story was told from Bruno's point of view, I spent a lot of time at his level, getting down on my knees to imagine the sets.”

"It had to feel real, it had to feel genuine so that the viewers believe they are planted firmly in that world,” says costume designer Natalie Ward. "It's not something that needs an imaginative slant to it because you want the audience to recognize these people. This period has been filmed a lot but even though you think you know what it looks like, you want to get it completely right. Once you start focusing on the details, and you realize you don't know as much as you thought you did. Consequently, I asked thousands of questions and did a lot of research.”

Regarding the sets for the final scenes in the film, designer Martin Childs knew he required the highest degree of authenticity. "For the set of the anteroom to the gas chamber an

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