Thursday, March 26, 2009

Everything is Illuminated

This is yet another great film we have had the opportunity to watch in class. The many elements within the movie added depth as well as humor. Johnathan's outragous, obssesive collecting habits were hillarious. The description of all the characters, in addition to the camera work really made the situation complete.

This movie evoked personal feelings in me since I could relate to the situation. Johnathan went back to Russia to trace his roots and collect the pieces which made his family. Being from a bordering country, Bulgaria, made everything within the movie seem so familiar to me. Even the language throughout the movie was a call of home. I could understand the key words within the sentences enough to know what they were saying. This made the movie strangely real to me. It was like I had been to alot of these places. I could relate to the characters and the people they saw along their journey to finding themselves.

One scene which really stood out to me was when the grandfather walked down into the field and looked upon the remains of war. There were ruins and infantry pieces. The foreshadowing effects of this scene are striking.

At this point it was clear that the grandfather had some connection to this land and to the war. The suspense built as the movie continued. I found myself wondering if the grandfather was one of the Germans or if he himself was Jewish.

One of the stark images in my mind was the vast contrast between the two groups' shoes, displayed by an explicit camera shot. The Jews, fearful and defeseless, wore ragged, torn shoes or no shoes at all, while the powerful Germans who held the Jews' fate in their hands wore shined, black boots.

This movie went from laughter to tears and covered a vast array of issues such as ignorance, anti-semitism, death, and suicide. The humerous descriptions were later supplemented by serious undertones. It turned out that Johnathan's habits of collecting things were driven by his fear of forgetting. The grandfathers funny, yet rough manners are later explained by the events he faced in the past. When he managed to walk away from the dead pile of Jews, he threw down his jacket, and with it, his religion. He was hardened by his circumstances and made to forget his true identity.

However, the end of the movie points out that our identity never disappears by means of Alex's interpretation of the term inside-out. Our true self is always on the inside of us looking out.

The grandfather burried his past in the banks of Trachinbrod, like the rest of the ill-fated people whose lives were taken there. The important thing is that in the end he returned home and recognized his true identity. For the first time he was content.

This movie said alot about searching for your roots and coming to know yourself. It is about leaving a part of yourself behind for the world to have. It is about searching for your past. Most importantly, it is about future generations' ability to find the answers to their search, so that they can come to know the inside which looks out.

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