7.2/10
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29 user 28 critic

Left Luggage (1998)

Unrated | | Drama | 30 March 1998 (Netherlands)
Against a background of holocaust memories, a liberal Jewish girl becomes a nanny to a young Jewish boy with a disability and grows fond of him.

Director:

Jeroen Krabbé

Writers:

Carl Friedman (novel), Edwin de Vries
5 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Laura Fraser ... Chaja
Adam Monty Adam Monty ... Simcha
Isabella Rossellini ... Mrs. Kalman
Jeroen Krabbé ... Mr. Kalman
Topol ... Mr. Apfelschnitt (as Chaim Topol)
Marianne Sägebrecht ... Chaja's Mother (as Marianne Saegebrecht)
Maximilian Schell ... Chaja's Father
David Bradley ... Concierge
Heather Weeks Heather Weeks ... Sofie
Miriam Margolyes ... Mrs. Goldblum
Lex Goudsmit Lex Goudsmit ... Mr. Goldblum
Krijn ter Braak Krijn ter Braak ... Grandfather
Mieke Verheyden Mieke Verheyden ... Grandmother (as Mieke Verheijden)
Noura Van der Berg Noura Van der Berg ... Selma
Lana Broekaert Lana Broekaert ... Chaja (7 Years)
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Storyline

While escaping from Nazis during the WWII, a Jewish man dug suitcases full of things dear to his heart in the ground two. The war deprived him of his family, and afterwards he endlessly turns over the soil of Antwerp to find the suitcases, which makes him look obsessed. He keeps checking old maps and keeps digging, trying to find, in fact, those he lost. His daughter Chaya is a beautiful modern girl looking for a part-time job. She finds a place as a nanny in the strictly observant Chassidic family with many children, although her secular manners clearly fly in the face of many commandments. One of the reasons she is accepted is that mother of the family is absolutely overburdened by the household, so she stays despite the resistance of the father, normally - an indisputable authority in the family. She develops a special bond with the youngest of the boys, four-year old Simcha, so far incapable of speaking. She teaches him while walking in the park, and it seems that during the ... Written by Yan Mazor & M.Ivanov

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Netherlands | UK | Belgium | USA

Language:

English | Hebrew | Yiddish

Release Date:

30 March 1998 (Netherlands) See more »

Also Known As:

À la recherche du passé See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$1,069,540

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$2,111,280
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Color:

Color (Cinecolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although Edwin de Vries is credited as the sole screenwriter, he admitted that he got some helpful input from Robert Mark Kamen in exchange for a painting created by director Jeroen Krabbé and a special thanks in the credits. One of Kamen's suggestions was to make Simcha (Adam Monty) mute, until his interaction with Chaja (Laura Fraser) slowly makes him talk again. Writer Carl Friedman, author of the original novel, was very enthusiastic about this addition, and regretted that she had not come up with the idea herself. See more »

Quotes

Chaya Silberschmidt: No cinema, no radio, no theater, no television. Not much fun then.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Ausverkauft! (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Music box theme
from "Trois Gymnopédies"
Composed by Erik Satie
See more »

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User Reviews

 
poignant
8 February 2005 | by yvonne-37See all my reviews

There are movies about the tension between secular and religious Jews, and movies about Holocaust survivors. This one is both.

Chaiyah, a Jewish college-aged woman in Antwerp, Belgium, couldn't care less about her family's stories, and she finds the Chasidim to be particularly weird. A child of the sexual revolution, she's concerned with having a good time.

Through a family friend, she finds a job as a nanny for a Chasidic family. Although she's ready to quit the first day, she quickly develops a — no, a kinship — with the youngest boy with severe emotional difficulties. The boy, Simcha, can't speak, even though he's four, and when he's under pressure, he wets himself. Chaiyah brings him out. He begins talking, and even sings the Mah Nishtanah at the Seder.

The film shows us reasons for the Chasidic father's seeming aloofness to the youngest son, overt and less than overt anti-Semitism in Europe ("You don't look Jewish.") , and the ways the older generation has of dealing or coping with the past.

As the film progresses, Chaiyah becomes bonded with her people, which I think is the meaning of the final scene.

Some of the scenes can't really be appreciated without an understanding of Jewish culture and practice. I think this is particularly true of one of the late scenes between the two main women characters. It really floored me.

It's a real tear-jerker, but it's not without its happy moments.


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