It is the spring of 1945, the final days of World War II. A train that is deporting hundreds of prisoners from Bergen-Belsen comes to a stop, stranded near a small German village occupied by the Red Army.
The train has been abandoned by German soldiers and its occupants are left to fend for themselves against the advancing Russian troops.
But three women – a German, a Dutch Jew and a Russian – find a way to move through their differences and work together to figure out how to survive.
This is Lost Transport. A moving and thought-provoking film by director Saskia Diesing currently showing at the German Film Festival throughout Australia.
While the women are fictional characters, Lost Transport is inspired by true events and according to Global Screen, weaving these two elements together has resulted in a “feminist and deeply human story about cohesion and friendship”.
Dutch Jews Simone and her husband Isaac are on the train, when the Red Army shows up, including a Russian sniper, Vera.
The German villagers are forced to provide the stranded prisoners with shelter, food, and help. One of the villagers is 17-year-old Winnie who despite being deeply traumatised, must take Simone and Isaac in when the Jewish couple are assigned to her home, along with Vera, who is assigned to guard them.
An unexpected friendship develops, revealing what can be achieved when people with different backgrounds put aside their differences and help those around them.
Hanna van Vliet, who plays Simone, told Variety that it is important to see a war-themed film from the perspective of women as most are “shown from the point of view of men, are predominantly directed by men and portray men as either the heroes or victims of war”.
“The film is about understanding life from another person’s perspective,” she said. “And it is about compassion and empathy, and that’s maybe easier to believe when it is a story told with female characters because of the way society looks at masculinity.”
Lost Transport is a moving and deeply emotional portrayal of the cost of war and displacement which at the end of the day shows how compassion and empathy can change the world.
Lost Transport is showing as part of the German Film Festival around Australia. For more information and tickets, visit germanfilmfestival.com.au