Director: Michale Boganim

1h 42min. 2004

This hauntingly beautiful documentary from Israeli filmmaker Michale Boganim moves from the storied Ukrainian city of Odessa to Brooklyn’s Little Odessa neighborhood and then on to Ashdod, Israel. This, however, is no ordinary travelogue. Using the symbolic figure of a weary traveler carrying a battered valise, the film is instead a psychic map of the Jewish Diaspora. The voyage begins in Odessa. Perched on the edge of the Black and Sea and suffused with an eerie blue glow, the city seems suspended in time, existing only as a collective memory dreamt by the Jews who have already left… Inspired by the Odessa stories of Isaac Babel, Boganim has beautifully evoked Odessa not as a real-life locale, but a state of mind — a lodestar of powerful nostalghia that continues to exert its force on those who felt compelled to search elsewhere for what Jews have always dreamt of: a homeland. Like the wandering Jews of the film, Jakob Ihre’s camera rarely settles in one place. Gliding ghost-like through the streets of Odessa, Brooklyn and Ashdod, it perfectly captures a sense of rootlessness, displacement and exile.

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