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Roger Allam
In dark 'The Book Thief,' Sophie Nélisse is a bright spot
In dark 'The Book Thief,' Sophie Nélisse is a bright spot

POTSDAM, Germany — Biting cold and a blue, blue April sky marked the day as perfect for a foot race. On the back lot of Babelsberg Film Studio here outside of the German capital, young actors Sophie Nélisse and Nico Liersch took their marks, got set and dashed off through the cobblestoned snow, laughter bouncing and blond heads glinting in the sun. Their characters — best friends Liesel Meminger and Rudy Steiner — are bright lights in a story that edges on darkness. Death begins and ends the tale; in fact, he even narrates it. A few feet away, watching captivated by the sight and the sounds in his headphones, was Liesel's creator, Australian author Markus...

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