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The Devil's Arithmetic (1999)

A 16-year-old American girl with an apathetic view towards her Jewish family history finds herself pulled through time into 1941 to a small Polish village where the Nazi have just began their genocidal propaganda.

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(novel), (teleplay)
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3 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Rabbi
...
Leonore Stern
...
Aunt Eva
Lilo Baur ...
Mina
Nitzan Sharron ...
Ariel
...
...
Shmuel
Kirsty McFarland ...
Yetta
Rachel Roddy ...
Esther
Ieva Jackeviciute ...
Miriam
Philip Rham ...
Commandant Krieger
Daniel Rausch ...
Officer Steinbach
Polina Soloveicik ...
Sarah (as Paulina Soloveicik)
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Storyline

This is another telling of the holocaust, but this time from the perspective of a modern teenage girl who only grudgingly accepts the Jewish traditions, but when she is asked to "open the front door" as part of the Seder feast finds herself, not unlike Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, to have entered the 1940's and has stepped into the life of a prisoner in one of the German death camps where she experiences all of its horrors firsthand. Written by BOB STEBBINS <stebinsbob@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Live to tell

Genres:

Drama | Fantasy | War

Certificate:

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Parents Guide:

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Details

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Language:

Release Date:

28 March 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La aritmética del diablo  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

By far the most famous and successful movie in which actor Paul Freeman has appeared in his career is Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), in which he plays a French archaeologist who collaborates with the Nazis. In this film, he plays an Orthodox rabbi who is imprisoned in a concentration camp by the Nazis. See more »

Quotes

Leah: If you do not let me go with my child, I will kill you. I swear, I will kill you! And neither God nor the devil will stop me.
Commandant Krieger: If that is your wish, I never say no to a lady.
See more »

Connections

References The Wizard of Oz (1939) See more »

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User Reviews

surprisingly good
20 December 2003 | by (Mojave Desert, California) – See all my reviews

I think the movie is even better than the book, and the book is excellent. The movie changed Hannah and Rivkeh to be in their mid-teens rather than only about 11 as in the "Young Adult" novel. This might have been done for an "inside-the-box" reason, namely so that the director could work with more mature performers. But whatever the reason, the change was for the better, as it made the story more realistic to me -- I can "buy" that 16-year-olds could survive without parents in a concentration camp, but not 11-year-olds!

I expected a good performance from Kirsten Dunst, who is known for serious work. But the one who was a revelation was Brittany Murphy, more associated with (mediocre) light comedy (such as "Summer Catch" and "Just Married"). With dark hair, dark eyes and a believable Polish accent, she utterly disappears into the role of Rivkeh.

To answer a question posed by a previous poster, about why the great-aunt changed her name ... one reason, not obvious to the casual viewer, comes out of Jewish tradition. It is an old custom for a Jew, after having narrowly escaped death, to take a completely different first name. The (somewhat superstitious) belief is that you are trying to fool the Angel of Death; if you have a different name now, he won't realize it's you and therefore won't try to take you again! The other two reasons are more obvious: She was honoring her friend who sacrificed her life for her, and she was beginning a new life in America (many Jews and others took new names when they immigrated).


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Not an appropriate movie to be made kedem524
Apropriate for fourth grade? lhogan1
A subject which should never be forgotten--but not this movie vgs1895
Other Holocaust Books A_Bob
Object in Haircutting Scene Storygurl86
great movie! stientjuh
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