Friday, August 12, 2011

Everything Is Illuminated

It took me years (and an email from Canadian beret enthusiast Jamie) to realize that Eugene Hütz, one of the main characters in the film Everything is Illuminated, wears a beret (a Kangol beret, to be precise). A great movie with an even greater mix of music, from punk to Balkan, hip hop to classic and many traditionals in between.   
A young man takes a strange and unexpectedly funny journey in search of a family heroine he's never known in this screen adaptation of the novel by Jonathan Safran Foer. Jonathan (Elijah Wood) is a lifelong collector of any and all objects pertaining to his family, and he has become obsessed with a woman he's never met. The woman saved the life of his grandfather during World War II, when the Ukrainian town where he was born was destroyed by Nazi troops.
Wanting to know more about the woman, Jonathan flies to the Ukraine, where with the help of a hip-hop obsessed, gold-toothed tour guide and translator named Alex (Eugene Hütz), Alex's grandfather (a chauffeur who has claimed to be blind since his wife's death, played by Boris Leskin), and a dog named Sammy Davis Junior Junior, Jonathan searches for the meaning of the present that lies buried in the past, unexpectedly shedding the same such light on the lives of those around him. 
Everything Is Illuminated was the first directorial assignment for acclaimed actor Liev Schreiber.

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