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"Adam Resurrected" follows the story of Adam Stein, a charismatic patient at a mental institution for Holocaust survivors in Israel, 1961. He reads minds and confounds his doctors, lead by Nathan Gross. Before the war, in Berlin, Adam was an entertainer--cabaret impresario, circus owner, magician, musician--loved by audiences and Nazis alike until he finds himself in a concentration camp, confronted by Commandant Klein. Adam survives the camp by becoming the Commandant's "dog", entertaining him while his wife and daughter are sent off to die. Years later we find him at the Institute. One day, Adam smells something, hears a sound. "Who brought a dog in here?" he asks Gross. Gross denies there is a dog but Adam finds him--a young boy raised in a basement on a chain. Adam and the boy see and recognize each other as dogs--and their journey begins. "Adam Resurrected" is the story of a man who once was a dog who meets a dog who once was a boy. Written by
The lines read at the beginning by Jeff Goldblum are a translation from the 19th century German Jewish poet Heinrich Heine's "In Der Fremde" (In Exile) Heine was himself an exile, spending his last years in Paris. See more »
The medal Commandant Klein wears around his neck is an Iron Cross first class with oak leaves and swords. This medal, awarded for merits on the battle front, was only given if the recipient already had the second class iron cross, which is nowhere to be seen. See more »
I had once the beautiful Father Land. The oak tree grew so high there. Silence nodded softly. It was a dream. It kissed me in German. It spoke in German. You would hardly believe how good it sounded. The words, Ich liebe dich, I love you. It *was* a dream...
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A Tough Story Enhanced by a Bravura Performance by Jeff Goldblum
ADAM RESURRECTED is a strange, mesmerizing art film adapted from Yoram Kaniuk's novel 'Adam Ben Kelev' ('Man, Son of a Dog'), adapted for the screen by Noah Stollman, and brilliantly directed by Paul Schrader, whose contributions to the art of film include writing and/or directing such important works as 'Taxi Driver', 'Raging Bull', 'Affliction', 'The Last Temptation of Christ', Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters', 'American Gigolo', etc. It is another examination of the effects of the Holocaust of the survivors but with such a different twist and graced with some magnificent performances that it stands with the finest films that deal with this subject.
Adam Stein (Jeff Goldblum, in an astonishingly fine portrayal) prior to the beginnings of WW II was a highly successful Berlin impresario of a 'Circus' - a cabaret act where he performed acts of magic, comedy, playing the violin, mind reading, doing acts of dagger throwing with his daughter and wife in assistance - a comedian beloved by all his countrymen including the Nazis. When the film opens we are in Tel Aviv in the year 1961 and the mentally disturbed Adam is an on again off again patient in an insane asylum for Holocaust victims, a center of continued 'experiments by a staff of physicians (headed by Dr. Gross - Derek Jacobi and an attendant bizarre nurse Gina - Ayelet Zurer, in love with Adam) who are intimidated by the genius quality of Adam and his ability to keep the inmates happy. In a series of flashbacks (in black and white) to 1926, 1932, and 1944 we see Adam in concentration camps, still entertaining his fellow Jews and asked to play his violin for the Jews who are being escorted into the ovens for cremation. He is observed by Commandant Klein (Willem DaFoe) who had once been entertained by Adam's circus act and later with Adam a prisoner in the concentration camp has Adam act like a dog for Klein's entertainment, a particularly painful duty when later, in the asylum in Israel Adam discovers that Dr. Gross is keeping a young boy on a chain, treating him like a real dog. The relationship between man and dog and dog and dog and man and boy is complex and heartbreakingly somber. The implications and plays within plays that fill this film demand the fell attention of the viewer.
Many of the numerous aspects that enhance Paul Schrader's expert telling of this strange story include Gabriel Yared's musical score (with a lot of help from Wagner's 'Tannhauser' and Schubert lieder as sung by Elisabeth Schwarzkopf), the brilliant costuming of actor Jeff Goldblum, and the many small roles in this film filled by some of Germany's and Israel's most gifted actors. But towering over it all is the compelling performance by Jeff Goldblum who has created a character on film that once seen will never be forgotten. Highly Recommended.
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