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Left Luggage (1998)

Unrated | | Drama | 30 March 1998 (Netherlands)
Against a background of holocaust memories, a liberal Jewish girl becomes a nanny to a young Jewish boy with a disability, and grows fond of him.




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5 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »


Cast overview, first billed only:
Chaya Silberschmidt
Adam Monty ...
Simcha Kalman
Mrs. Kalman
Mr. Kalman
Yacov Apfelschnitt (as Chaim Topol)
Mrs. Silberschmidt, Chaya's Mother (as Marianne Saegebrecht)
Mr. Silberschmidt, Chaya's Father
Heather Weeks ...
Mrs. Goldman
Lex Goudsmit ...
Mr. Goldman
Krijn ter Braak ...
Mieke Verheyden ...
Grandmother (as Mieke Verheijden)
Noura Van der Berg ...
Lana Broekaert ...
Chaya (7 Years)


While escaping from Nazis during the WWII, a Jewish man dug suitcases full of things dear to his heart in the ground two. The war deprived him of his family, and afterwards he endlessly turns over the soil of Antwerp to find the suitcases, which makes him look obsessed. He keeps checking old maps and keeps digging, trying to find, in fact, those he lost. His daughter Chaya is a beautiful modern girl looking for a part-time job. She finds a place as a nanny in the strictly observant Chassidic family with many children, although her secular manners clearly fly in the face of many commandments. One of the reasons she is accepted is that mother of the family is absolutely overburdened by the household, so she stays despite the resistance of the father, normally - an indisputable authority in the family. She develops a special bond with the youngest of the boys, four-year old Simcha, so far incapable of speaking. She teaches him while walking in the park, and it seems that during the ... Written by Yan Mazor & M.Ivanov

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




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Release Date:

30 March 1998 (Netherlands)  »

Also Known As:

À la recherche du passé  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$5,598 (USA) (22 September 2000)


$100,544 (USA) (24 November 2000)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?


This film marked the directorial debut of Jeroen Krabbé for a theatrical feature, the first producer credit for Ate de Jong, as well as the first solo screenplay credit for Edwin de Vries. See more »


Mrs. Silberschmidt, Chaya's Mother: It's not the luggage he lost in that filthy war, it was himself.
See more »


Referenced in Ausverkauft! (1999) See more »


Get out on the Road
Written by Keith Allison
Performed by Keith Allison with Ruby and the Tweed Twins
Published by Git-Tar Music, a division of BMI
See more »

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User Reviews

8 February 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

There are movies about the tension between secular and religious Jews, and movies about Holocaust survivors. This one is both.

Chaiyah, a Jewish college-aged woman in Antwerp, Belgium, couldn't care less about her family's stories, and she finds the Chasidim to be particularly weird. A child of the sexual revolution, she's concerned with having a good time.

Through a family friend, she finds a job as a nanny for a Chasidic family. Although she's ready to quit the first day, she quickly develops a — no, a kinship — with the youngest boy with severe emotional difficulties. The boy, Simcha, can't speak, even though he's four, and when he's under pressure, he wets himself. Chaiyah brings him out. He begins talking, and even sings the Mah Nishtanah at the Seder.

The film shows us reasons for the Chasidic father's seeming aloofness to the youngest son, overt and less than overt anti-Semitism in Europe ("You don't look Jewish.") , and the ways the older generation has of dealing or coping with the past.

As the film progresses, Chaiyah becomes bonded with her people, which I think is the meaning of the final scene.

Some of the scenes can't really be appreciated without an understanding of Jewish culture and practice. I think this is particularly true of one of the late scenes between the two main women characters. It really floored me.

It's a real tear-jerker, but it's not without its happy moments.

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