Thirty years ago, Andrei Simoniovich Filipov, the renowned conductor of the Bolshoi orchestra, was fired for hiring Jewish musicians. Now a mere cleaning man at the Bolshoi, he learns by ... See full summary »
Central Europe, WWII. The village fool of a small Jewish community warns the townsfolk that the Nazis are coming, and advises them to build a fake deportation train to cross the Russian border and get to Palestine. Some Jews are dressed up with German uniforms, and soon they start getting strange ideas about how it feels to be a Nazi; others are infected with the fast-spreading germ of communism. Meanwhile, the Russian border gets closer and closer... Written by
The footage of the train exterior and interior was actually second unit footage filmed for what was supposed to have been the Puppet Wars mini-trilogy, spun-off from the popular DTV horror series Puppet Master. See more »
A Magic Realism Touch to Recall Life Before the Holocaust
Despite a really annoying audience of noisy senior citizens I got into the spirit of "Train of Life (Train de vie)" (though it was odd having the shtetl residents in a foreign-language film speak French until I realized of course in "Jakob the Liar" Robin Williams and Liev Schreiber speak English so why not in a Belgian/Romanian-produced movie wouldn't they speak French?).
It has the immediate feel of the magic realism of "The Milagro Beanfields War" and it no more cheapens the Holocaust than "The Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" cheapens the Civil War. It is full of the warmth and love of everyday life and personalities come sweetly to life.
I thought the Fool as the Seer was getting a bit much until it's made clear he's not really the Village Idiot so no heavy-handed symbolism.(originally written 11/14/1999)
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