A young Jewish American man endeavors to find the woman who saved his grandfather during World War II in a Ukrainian village, that was ultimately razed by the Nazis, with the help of an eccentric local.
A young Jewish American flies to Ukraine in search of his grandfather's past. He has a photograph and the name of a village. He hires Odessa Heritage Tours, made up of a gruff old man and his English-speaking grandson. The three, plus grandfather's deranged dog, travel in an old car from Odessa into Ukraine's heart. Jonathan, the American, is a collector, putting things he finds into small plastic bags, so he will remember. Alex, the interpreter, is an archetypal wild and crazy guy. Alex asks the old man, "Was there anti-Semitism in the Ukraine before the war?" Will they find the village? The past illuminates everything. Written by
The blue car used throughout the movie is a Trabant 601 Kombi/Estate. See more »
When Jonathan takes Augustine's pendant from the wall under his grandfather's portrait, he looks to the portrait and the bag is still there. Then in the next shot the bag is in his hands again. See more »
My legal name is Alexander Perchov, but all of my friends dub me Alex, because this is much more flaccid to utter.
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Several songs are credited to the New York punk/Gypsy/Jewish klezmer band, Gogol Bordello, which is led by Eugene Hutz, who plays Alex in the film (the same band greets Jonathan when he arrives on the train). The last of these songs, "Start Wearing Purple (For Me Now)," which plays over the end credits, is credited to both a correct spelling (Gogol Bordello), dg and Gogol Bodello, an incorrect spelling. See more »
In America, the Jewish Jonathan Safran Foer (Elijah Wood) collects personal belongings of his family for recollection. A few moments before dying, his grandmother gives an old photograph of his grandfather with a woman called Augustine in Ukraine. Jonathan contacts the Odessa Heritage Tours, a family agency in Ukraine, to guide him to the location where the picture had been taken to find Augustine, and together with the interpreter Alex (Eugene Hutz), his grandfather and a weird dog, they travel in an old car searching the missing past of Jonathan's family.
"Everything Is Illuminated" is a strange movie about a weird young man with the compulsive behavior of collecting souvenirs from his family to not forget them that seeks the past of his grandfather to understand how could be his life if his grandfather had not moved to USA. This bizarre vegetarian character meets a dysfunctional Ukrainian family that owns an amateurish travel agency specialized in helping Jews to find missing relatives, and together they have an almost surrealistic road-trip through the country of Ukraine. The movie begins like a comedy, with a sarcastic black humor, and ends in a touching and tragic drama recommended for specific audiences. My vote is seven.
Title (Brazil): "Uma Vida Iluminada" ("An Illuminated Life")
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