A few years ago I picked up a book at Wordsworth called Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer. Although I enjoyed the style and was connected to the subject matter, I struggled to read it through to the end.
On Sunday I was working on the lappie but the TV was on and I immediately recognised the voice and accent of the lead singer and founder member of one of my all time favourite bands, Gogol Bordello. I immediately started watching and within seconds I was totally hooked in to this extraordinary movie of the same title, Everything is Illuminated.
It stars Eugene Hutz of Gogol Bordello and Elijah Wood and it is an absolute gem. It’s the story of a young Jewish American boy who gets the help of a street smart Ukrainian, his grandfather and his ‘seeing-eye bitch’ collie dog, in searching for the woman who helped his own grandfather during the war.
It creeps up on you, this movie. It is very funny, and director Liev Shrieber worked with the author on the screenplay, which retains all the funny translation quirks. It is shot on location in the Ukraine, which is exquisite and evocative. It is also so sad. I sobbed my heart out. And then there is the music, much of it made by Eugene Hutz and his band. It is brilliant. I must get the sound track. Most of the movie is in Ukrainian too, which makes it so authentic. This film’s fresh take on an old subject is really poignant. It is a truly original, finding your roots, holocaust, road movie that is also about friendship and love.
The movie is all over DSTV at the moment.