Books, libraries and librarians are the subject of January screenings at our Central Library Friday Film Club. From reportage to comedy to war drama, we try to show how films portray one of the greatest goods of humanity - books and libraries.
The Book Thief (2013) Dir. Brian Percival
In February 1938, a male voice, representing Death itself, tells about how the young Liesel Meminger has piqued his interest. In one of the opening scenes, twelve-year-old Liesel is traveling with her mother and younger brother on a train. On the way, her brother dies and is buried next to the tracks. Liesel steals her first book, titled The Grave Digger's Handbook, when it falls out of the gravedigger's pocket. Liesel is then brought to her new home in Munich, where she meets her new foster parents Rosa Hubermann and Hans Hubermann. Rudy Steiner, a boy who lives next door, accompanies her on her first day of school. When the teacher asks Liesel to write her name on the chalkboard, she is only able to write three Xs, revealing to her classmates that she is unable to write. She is taunted by her schoolmates who chant "dummkopf" ("dunce") at her. One of the boys, Franz Deutscher, challenges her to read just one word to which Liesel responds by beating him up. She impresses Rudy, and they become fast friends. When Hans, her foster father, realizes that Liesel cannot read, he begins to teach her, using the book that she took from the graveside, and a giant chalkboard. Liesel becomes captivated with reading anything she can.