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.
Jewish-American writer Jonathan Safran Foer is a collector of his family's memorabilia, although most of the items, some which he takes without asking, would not be considered keepsakes by the average person. He places most of those items in individual Ziploc bags, and hangs them on his keepsake wall under the photograph of the person to who it is most associated. He has this compulsion in an effort to remember. He is able to tie a photograph that he receives from his grandmother, Sabine Foer, on her deathbed - it of his grandfather, Safran Foer, during the war in the Ukraine, and a young woman he will learn is named Augustine - back to a pendant he stole from his grandfather on his deathbed in 1989, the pendant of a glass encased grasshopper. Learning that Augustine somehow saved his grandfather's life leads to Jonathan going on a quest to find out the story at its source where the photograph was taken, in a now non-existent and probably largely forgotten town called Trachimbrod that...Written by
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 »
I just saw "Everything is Illuminated" at the Telluride Film Festival. This is a truly remarkable film. Very emotional, funny at times and heart-warming. Bring your handkerchiefs! For those of you who enjoy a movie that brings tears to your eyes, I'm reminded of the endings of "Babette's Feast" and "The Notebook." The stories were completely different but had that same emotional power to bring tears to my eyes, just as this film did.
No spoilers here. The summary is, as IMDb describes, a young man's journey to the Ukraine to follow his roots and find the village where his father grew up.
The dialog is in English and Ukrainian (and Russian too, I believe). This allows for some wonderfully linguistically-based moments as one character interprets, more or less faithfully, for the English speaker in the group, depending on the circumstances.
The scenery is wonderful and the musical score is a treat with wonderful Eastern European influences. Be sure you stay through the credits for the final tune.
This is Lieve Schreiber's directorial debut and is well done. I give this film a 9, one of the best films I've seen in a long time. I recommend it highly.
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