Voyages

French director Emmanuel Finkiel's extraordinary, heartbreaking film is spun from the stories of three aging Jewish women whose lives were irreparably damaged by the Holocaust. Rivka (Shulamit Adar), who lost her parents and sister to the camps, and her husband are on vacation in Poland and she's determined to see Auschwitz. But the...read more

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Reviewed by Ken Fox
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French director Emmanuel Finkiel's extraordinary, heartbreaking film is spun

from the stories of three aging Jewish women whose lives were irreparably

damaged by the Holocaust. Rivka (Shulamit Adar), who lost her parents and

sister to the camps, and her husband are on vacation in Poland and she's

determined to see Auschwitz. But the tour bus breaks down on a forbidding

stretch of frozen Polish countryside. The situation's awful irony — a

group of Jews clamoring to get to Auschwitz — is undercut by the genuine

pathos of the passengers: They move like orphaned ghosts, carrying their pain,

fear and anger through a world that scarcely notices them. The second story

takes place in Paris: Regine (Liliane Rovere) receives a phone call from a man

(Nathan Cogan) who claims to be the father she thought was killed along with

her mother and sister. Their reunion is joyful, but Regine's desperate need to

believe is offset by a gnawing suspicion that something's not quite right. The

third segment follows Vera (Esther Gorintin), who's traveled from her home in

a small Moscow suburb to Israel, as she searches for her cousin in Tel Aviv. She winds her way through hot, noisy streets (the Promised Land isn't exactly

what she expected) with little more to go on than a name, an old address and a

few ancient memories. The film nearly comes full circle, but the connections

remain purposefully vague: Few connections can be made among scattered people

who have lost so much. Finkiel served as an assistant director to Krysztof

Kieslowski and Jean-Luc Godard, and he's made a remarkably assured transition.

His ability to control economical dialogue with subtle but unusually powerful

images — haunted faces peering out from behind foggy bus windows; train

tracks that once carried other passengers to a death camp — lend this

quiet, unforgettable film an uncanny power.

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  • Released: 1999
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: French director Emmanuel Finkiel's extraordinary, heartbreaking film is spun from the stories of three aging Jewish women whose lives were irreparably damaged by the Holocaust. Rivka (Shulamit Adar), who lost her parents and sister to the ca… (more)

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