I went to see the film The Reader last night. A veritable treatise on shame: individual; communal; common or garden; beyond-the-ordinary. The young Michael is a text book example of how shame accumulates from the petty to the sort that stops you sleeping at night. His parents, archetypal "shamers", set him up for a life-time of turmoil (see also Shame. The Power of Caring by Gershen Kaufman (Schenkman Books Inc, Rochester, Vermont)). No wonder he is drawn towards Hana who carries the burden of societal shame as well as her own.
Don't be put off by Kate Winslet's truly awful performance at the Golden Globe awards, she is magnificent in this film. But for me, David Kross's portrayal from innocent adolescence to tortured manhood should get far more plaudits. This is a complex film with few glimmers of hope. And I do think the elder Michael could come up with a better "surprise" for his long-lost daughter than taking her to a rain drenched graveyard so that he can start to unfetter himself from his chasms of shame.