Voyages | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader


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Emmanuel Finkiel's meticulous and quietly affecting 1999 debut feature follows three elderly Jewish women, all survivors of World War II, as they drift through the modern world. The film unfolds as a trilogy of disconcerting emotional journeys: during a bus ride to Auschwitz the elegant Rivka (Shulamit Adar) suddenly reveals to her husband that she's been miserable in their marriage; the severe Regine (Liliane Rovere) lives a calm and lonely life in her Paris apartment until an old man from Lithuania appears claiming to be her father; and Vera (Esther Gorintin), a tireless 85-year-old woman who's emigrated from Russia to Tel Aviv, roams the streets in search of a distant cousin, bewildered by the city's bustle and lack of Yiddish speakers. Except for a chance meeting between Rivka and Vera toward the end, the three characters seem connected only by their displacement and the widening gap between the present and the pivotal events of their lives. Finkiel (a French director who apprenticed with Godard, Tavernier, and Kieslowski) plants clues throughout the film suggesting that the women might be long-lost relatives but declines to wrap things up neatly. The very uncertainty--and the fading possibility of an end to their search--is what makes the film so eerie and poignant. Film Center, Art Institute, Columbus Drive at Jackson, Sunday, April 16, 2:00 and 4:15, 312-443-3737.

--Ted Shen


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