29 user 28 critic

Left Luggage (1998)

Against a background of holocaust memories, a liberal Jewish girl becomes a nanny to a young Jewish boy with a disability and grows fond of him.


Jeroen Krabbé


Carl Friedman (novel), Edwin de Vries

On Disc

at Amazon

5 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Laura Fraser ... Chaya Silberschmidt
Adam Monty Adam Monty ... Simcha Kalman
Isabella Rossellini ... Mrs. Kalman
Jeroen Krabbé ... Mr. Kalman
Topol ... Yacov Apfelschnitt (as Chaim Topol)
Marianne Sägebrecht ... Mrs. Silberschmidt, Chaya's Mother (as Marianne Saegebrecht)
Maximilian Schell ... Mr. Silberschmidt, Chaya's Father
David Bradley ... Concierge
Heather Weeks Heather Weeks ... Sofie
Miriam Margolyes ... Mrs. Goldman
Lex Goudsmit Lex Goudsmit ... Mr. Goldman
Krijn ter Braak Krijn ter Braak ... Grandfather
Mieke Verheyden Mieke Verheyden ... Grandmother (as Mieke Verheijden)
Noura Van der Berg Noura Van der Berg ... Selma
Lana Broekaert Lana Broekaert ... Chaya (7 Years)


While escaping from Nazis during the WWII, a Jewish man dug suitcases full of things dear to his heart in the ground two. The war deprived him of his family, and afterwards he endlessly turns over the soil of Antwerp to find the suitcases, which makes him look obsessed. He keeps checking old maps and keeps digging, trying to find, in fact, those he lost. His daughter Chaya is a beautiful modern girl looking for a part-time job. She finds a place as a nanny in the strictly observant Chassidic family with many children, although her secular manners clearly fly in the face of many commandments. One of the reasons she is accepted is that mother of the family is absolutely overburdened by the household, so she stays despite the resistance of the father, normally - an indisputable authority in the family. She develops a special bond with the youngest of the boys, four-year old Simcha, so far incapable of speaking. She teaches him while walking in the park, and it seems that during the ... Written by Yan Mazor & M.Ivanov

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »



Netherlands | UK | Belgium | USA


English | Hebrew | Yiddish

Release Date:

30 March 1998 (Netherlands) See more »

Also Known As:

À la recherche du passé See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,598, 24 September 2000, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$100,544, 26 November 2000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby SR


Color (Cinecolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


First-time director Jeroen Krabbé admitted that he very insecure about the movie. When he got a call from composer Henny Vrienten, he was convinced that Vrienten didn't like the first footage shot for the film, and wanted out. However, Vrienten had loved what he saw, and got so inspired that he called to demonstrate some of the score he had written for it. See more »


Mrs. Silberschmidt, Chaya's Mother: It's not the luggage he lost in that filthy war, it was himself.
See more »


Referenced in Ausverkauft! (1999) See more »


Music box theme
from "Trois Gymnopédies"
Composed by Erik Satie
See more »

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User Reviews

Interesting, with a few minor flaws
26 August 2001 | by Enid-3See all my reviews

This film has a most unusual setting, the Chassidic community of Antwerp, Belgium. The protagonist is a young Jewish (but non-observant) woman, who gets a job taking care of the children of a Chassidic family, and has a humanising effect on all, of them, including the imposing and forbidding father, albeit with an unfortunate side effect.

The film's title refers to a sub-plot, in which the protagonist's father digs holes in various spots around Antwerp, seeking for some trunks of personal effects he buried while fleeing from the Nazis.

After the film was over, I realized a few flaws in the plot (Unlike one of your other reviewers, I did not find the nude swimming scene unpleasant at all. It serves nicely to contrast the protagonist's lack of inhibition with the sexual prudery of the Chassidim.). For one thing, the concierge of the building in which the Chassidic family lives is an anti-Semite, who constantly harasses the family. He denies them access to the elevator, blocks the stairs and even injures one of the children. Yet nobody thinks of complaining the the building's owner about him.

Also, the name of the protagonist is Chaya. Yet it never occurs to her best friend, until it comes up in conversation, that she might be Jewish.

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