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Ivan & Abraham (1993)

Moi Ivan, toi Abraham (original title)
In 1930s Poland, it was traditional for some Christian boys to live for a time with Jewish families in order to learn a trade from Jewish craftsmen. For this reason, Ivan has gone to live ... See full summary »


Yolande Zauberman
3 wins. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Roma Alexandrovitch Roma Alexandrovitch ... Abraham
Aleksandr Yakovlev Aleksandr Yakovlev ... Ivan (as Sasha Yakovlev)
Vladimir Mashkov ... Aaron
Mariya Lipkina Mariya Lipkina ... Rachel
Hélène Lapiower Hélène Lapiower ... Reyzele
Aleksandr Kalyagin ... Mardoche
Rolan Bykov ... Nachman
Zinoviy Gerdt ... Zalman
Aleksey Serebryakov
Armen Dzhigarkhanyan
Aleksey Gorbunov
Valeriy Ivchenko
Daniel Olbrychski ... Stepan
Oleg Yankovskiy ... Prince
Lika Kremer Lika Kremer ... Mania
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In 1930s Poland, it was traditional for some Christian boys to live for a time with Jewish families in order to learn a trade from Jewish craftsmen. For this reason, Ivan has gone to live on a large estate with Abraham and his family, has learned Yiddish, and has become Abraham's best friend. But the anti-Semitism born of poverty, ignorance, and superstition is fierce in this community of and the two boys run away into the countryside to flee an imminent conflict. Journeying together in a menacing environment, they reveal their innocence and inseparability. Written by Eric Wees <eric_wees@pch.gc.ca>

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Official submission of Belarus for the 'Best Foreign Language Film' category of the 67th Academy Awards in 1995. See more »

User Reviews

Boys of different faiths survive in Polish shtetl
30 September 1998 | by Antonio-37See all my reviews

Abraham is 9 years old, a Jewish lad in a Polish shtetl in the late 1930's. This shtetl is not like the one in Fiddler on the Roof. It is positively Middle Ages, all dirt roads and rough huts, poor peasants and rich landlords. A hardscrabble existence at the best of times, but about to be blown into oblivion by the start of World War 2.

Ivan is 14 years old, a Christian boy sent to live in the Jewish shtetl to learn a trade from Abraham's father.

Roma Alexandrovitch plays Abraham, and Alexandr (Sacha) Yakovitch plays Ivan. The differences between these two boys, and also their similarities, serve as allegories to the great troubles about to enfold Europe.

The boys are fond of each other, to the point of comparing their Jewish and Christian differences by playing doctor in the haystacks. Yet their affection will be severely tried, as events beyond their control split the shtetl.

The local rich landlord sells the land and displaces the tenants, an allegory to the coming shoa of the Polish Jews.

The boys run away, but are mistaken for Gypsies. Another allegory to the fate of the Gypsies under the German invaders.

This movie is brooding and dark. Only the boys affection brings any light. Yet, how can a story about the early stages of World War 2 be anything but sombre?

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France | Belarus


Yiddish | Polish | Russian | Romany

Release Date:

26 May 1993 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Ivan & Abraham See more »


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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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