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(Review originally written at 14 August 2005)

You have to like this kind of movies to fully appreciate this movie. It's a typical character drama, meaning that there is not really a story, in terms of having a beginning and an end, with in between a story that connects the beginning with the end but it more has a story that slowly and realistically develops, making the events in this movie realistic, documentary like occurrences.

The movie really relies on its characters, with a good result. The actors are all in top form and there are some well known names present in this movie, such as Oscar winner and multiple nominee Maximilian Schell, Golden Globe and Emmy Award nominee Isabella Rossellini and also Academy Award nominee Topol, who in this movie is credited with his birth name Chaim Topol, an obvious Jewish name. Topol is perhaps best known to the general public for playing Milos Columbo in the James Bond movie "For Your Eyes Only" or for his role in the cult camp-classic "Flash Gordon". Also director Jeroen Krabbé himself plays a solid part in the movie, as well as the main character, played by the beautiful, talented, young and sadly (still) mostly unknown Laura Fraser.

The way the story is slowly told and developed is done nicely. It gives the movie a true heart and soul and gives the characters and events some real good emotions. The story focuses mainly on the first generation of Jews born after WW II. The emotions by the parents are still present and fresh, while the children just want to move on and don't want to look back at the past. As the story develops the perspective of the youth, through the eyes of the main character Chaya on the past and the Jewish culture changes of course.

The drama is strong and the story is solid. It however is obvious at times that Jeroen Krabbé isn't the most experienced movie director around. There are some minor weaknesses in the directing of some sequences but all in all most certainly not a bad directing debut for Krabbé, who will most likely grow more and more stronger in the near future with his directing skills.

And for the ones who are interested; The Nino this movie is dedicated to, was the nearly 2 year old baby boy of the screenwriter of this movie Edwin de Vries and well known Dutch actress Monique van de Ven, who died of meningitis.

8/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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