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
Rises Above Tear-Jerking Sentimentality to Explore Children of Holocaust Survivors
"Left Luggage" is an interesting effort to deal with children of Holocaust survivors, not a common subject in films.
The child here is a vibrant, secular college student in 1970's Antwerp dealing with her haunted parents and her new employers, a Hassidic family.
It's an international co-production--Isabella Rossellini is actually creditable as the Hassidic mother and Maximillan Schell who has had a huge career playing Nazis is quite good as the unreligious Jewish father. It pushes too many, way too many schmaltzy buttons (yeah yeah, I cried about the adorable sort-of developmentally disabled kid that the young woman is the nanny for, but come on, and comparing reactions to the Nazis to standing up to a crazy, anti-Semitic elevator operator is a bit much).
The changes that the woman goes through relate mostly to her dealings with her parents and they with her, though the changes she puts the Hassidic family through are more moving.
There's an indication of an impact on her own sense of Jewish identity when she finally declares herself Jewish to her gentile best friend and some impact on her romantic life when she kicks her leechy Marxist blond, blue-eyed boyfriend out of her bed, but that's more to do with her independent streak.
(originally written 10/22/2000)
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