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Monday, September 04, 2006

Film review: Everything is Illluminated

Here's an interesting review of the film Everything is Illuminated, which I saw at Ukrainian camp last month.

Narrator Alex (Hutz), is a young Ukrainian obsessed with the Western culture. He wears clothes akin to hip-hop videos and speaks lovingly of icons in American pop culture ... His old-world family, however, loves the United States more for its tourists (more specifically, Jewish-American tourists). Alex’s father and grandfather run a company called Heritage Tours, which helps American Jews look for surviving family members estranged during World War II.

Enter Jonathan (Wood), whose ailing grandmother has given him a mysterious photograph of his immigrant grandfather and a Ukrainian woman named Augustine. ... Believing this Augustine responsible for saving his grandfather from Nazi persecution, Jonathan flies to the [sic] Ukraine, employing Alex and his grandfather to search for her.

The interplay between these main characters — Jonathan, Alex and Alex’s grandfather — makes the movie work. Each character displays a degree of cultural ignorance unique to his background, leading to comedic and poignant cultural clashes.

Hutz of course is Eugene Hutz, lead singer of Gogol Bordello, which toured Canada earlier this year and apparently made quite an impression on Edmonton.

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