DirectorLiev Schreiber Adapted fromEverything is Illuminated Duration
LanguageEnglish, Russian, Ukrainian Release dateSeptember 16, 2005 (2005-09-16) Based onNovel:
Jonathan Safran Foer WriterJonathan Safran Foer (novel), Liev Schreiber (screenplay) Music directorPaul Cantelon, Sergei Shnurov CastElijah Wood (Jonathan Safran Foer), Eugene Hutz (Alex), Boris Leskin (Grandfather), Jana Hrabetova (Jonathan's Grandmother), Jonathan Safran Foer (Leaf Blower), Stephen Samudovsky (Jonathan's Grandfather Safran) Similar moviesLife Is Beautiful, City Lights, Dancer in the Dark, The Eye, God Bless America, Santa's Slay
TaglineLeave Normal Behind.
Everything is illuminated trailer 1
Everything Is Illuminated is a 2005 biographical comedy-drama film, written and directed by Liev Schreiber and starring Elijah Wood and Eugene Hütz. It was adapted from the novel of the same name by Jonathan Safran Foer, and was the debut film of Liev Schreiber both as a director and as a screenwriter.
Jonathan Safran Foer (Elijah Wood), a young American Jew, goes on a quest to find the woman, Augustina, sister of Lista (Laryssa Lauret), who saved his grandfather, Safran Foer, during the Holocaust in a small Ukrainian town called Trachimbrod that was wiped off the map when the Nazis liquidated Eastern European shtetls. His guides are a cranky, antisemitic grandfather (Boris Leskin), his deranged Border Collie named Sammy Davis, Jr., Jr., and his over-enthusiastic grandson, Alex (Eugene Hutz), whose fractured command of English, passion for American pop culture, and constant chatter threaten to make the worst of every situation. The guides are not very knowledgeable about the subject of finding Jews, and usually just attempt to scam them by taking them on long journeys, but after hearing about Jonathan's compelling story, they decide they actually want to help him. After traveling through much of rural Ukraine, they eventually find Augustina's sister, who leads them to where Augustina was killed by Nazi soldiers after her father refused to spit on the Torah. Alex's grandfather kills himself after it was revealed he was Jewish and managed to survive the war himself by hiding his religion. Jonathan returns home after saying farewell to Alex, to whom he has grown close. Both Jonathan and Alex sprinkle soil gathered from the site of the massacre on their respective grandfather's grave. Alex's grandfather is given a Jewish burial.
The score for Everything Is Illuminated features eight original tracks composed by Paul Cantelon, along with songs by Russian ska punk band Leningrad, Arkady Severny, Csókolom, Tin Hat Trio, and Gogol Bordello, whose lead singer Eugene Hutz plays Alex. The band members of Gogol Bordello play the band in the train station where the character Alex has come to meet his US client, Jonathan Foer. DeVotchKa's single "How It Ends" is featured in the trailer, but not in the official soundtrack.
American Chronicle counted the film among the "rare films that encapsulate the emotion of discovery and drama with humor", while Time Out New York called it Liev Schreiber's "unbelievably assured debut as a director". Roger Ebert praised the film, assigning it 3 and a half stars out of 4, and suggested that one might well see it a second time (as he did) "to understand the journey it takes".
The film lost money at the box office, as the gross receipts never surpassed even the small budget of the production.
2005: Lanterna Magica Prize and Biografilm Award: Venice Film Festival: Liev Schreiber
2005: Best Screenplay: São Paulo International Film Festival: Liev Schreiber