For a long time now, my 3 favorite movies to recommend have all started with the letter E – including Everything is Illuminated (I’ll blog about my other 2 favorite E movies eventually) …
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.
I love this film – it is both hilarious and heartbreaking.
Elijah Wood’s character (the ‘young Jewish American man’ and a collector) travels to Eastern Europe and hires a young American-hip-hop-loving Ukranian Alex (played by Eugene Hutz) and his grandfather (Boris Leskin) to help him find the town where his family was from before WWII.
Elijah Wood – I’m not totally sure that I like him, but he’s in some of my favorite favorite movies …. So I probably do.
I love that his character is a collector. That’s actually why I saw this movie for the first time – we watched it in one of my material culture classes in college (I write a little bit about this in my recent eBook Tell Its Story). Material culture is so fascinating to me – I love that there’s a movie that touches on it (even just a tiny bit).
Throughout the film, Elijah Wood’s character (Jonathan) picks up little pieces here and there – things that serve to remind him of the trip and his search. He keeps them all in ziploc bags and catalogs them. … I don’t want to spoil the ending for you – but he’s not the only collector in the movie.
Soooo good. Again: One of my favorite movies (and now, books).
I treated myself to the book Everything is Illuminated recently. I loved it …. noticeably different than the movie but not necessarily better or worse (that’s how you know a movie is a good one )
I love that the dog’s name is “Sammy Davis, Junior, Junior” and that they sing ‘Billie Jean’ to the dog….
I love the amazing broken English Alex speaks. Actually, I love everything about Alex. His love of Michael Jackson and hip hop music, his dance steps (in the movie) … I love that it is his dream to move to American and be an accountant…. I love how he is with his grandfather …
And that actor (Eugene Hutz) is totally adorable. “I ask you to forgive my speaking of English, Jonfen, as I am not so premium with it.”
Plus : the music in this movie is all kinds of amazing.
P.S. the scene w/ the band running after the train is one of my faves!
Watching (and reading) Everything is Illuminated plants a seed of inspiration to:
- travel to Eastern Europe
- listen to some Gogol Bordello (the actor who plays Alex is the front man for that gypsy punk band – definitely check out this song “Start Wearing Purple“)
- listen to some Sammy Davis, Jr. (love him) and Michael Jackson
- research Europe in the 1930s (so interesting)
- watch some more Elijah Wood – so I can decide if I actually do like him as actor or not. Or he could just take me out for coffee.
- read all of Jonathan Safran Foer’s books. Almost done already, but I need to continue!
- re-read all my material culture books …. But they are in storage (maybe when I finally get my hands on them I’ll do an update to Tell Its Story)