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Look to the Sky


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Editorial Reviews

The newly re-mastered and restored World War II drama (formerly titled JONA CHE VISSE NELLA BALENA (1993)) comes for the first time to North America on DVD!

Based loosely on the book Childhood by Jona Oberski, LOOK TO THE SKY depicts a hope-filled view of the Holocaust from the perspective of a young Dutch boy, Jonah.

His story begins when German soldiers, speaking a language unknown to four-year-old Jonah, seize the boy along with his parents from their home in Amsterdam and escort them to a village in the Dutch countryside, and then to a transit camp.

Oblivious to the portentous events unfolding around him, the youngster clings to his parents' love and his memories of the past. This enables him not only to face the sufferings that will soon be inflicted upon him, but also, to observe with a certain equanimity, even humor, the details of his strange, new life.

Jonah sees -- and remembers -- everything very clearly. And not only the hardships and the horrors, but also the acts of kindness and moments of poetry, for example, his parents, forced to conclude their last act of love in the same room as their son... the camp cook, who drops him headfirst into a pot... and the elderly couple who almost despair of saving him, but finally see a way.

What Jonah sees and recalls most clearly, however, is his own struggle to survive -- his efforts to emerge alive from the belly of the beast that has swallowed him and the whole world. And despite everything, Jonah does survive -- battered, but not broken.

The picture has won three David di Donatello Awards (the Italian Oscar®): Best Costume Design, Best Director for Roberto Faenza, and Best Score for the venerable Ennio Morricone.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Look to the Sky
  • Directors: Roberto Faenza
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Original recording remastered, Widescreen
  • Language: English, Italian
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: PICTURE THIS
  • DVD Release Date: July 10, 2007
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000PMFRT2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #134,977 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Look to the Sky" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 31, 2007
Format: DVD
LOOK TO THE SKY ('Jona che visse nella balena') is a little marvel of a film, one that stays with the viewer long after the credits are completed. Originally made in 1993 in Italy from a story by Hugh Fleetwood and Roberto Faenza (who also directs), this honored film re-visits the Holocaust but almost entirely through a child's eyes. The complicity between the youthful innocence and the unspeakable reality results in a story, rendered by a superb cast, that shares an entirely different light on the effect of the Nazi 'Jewish Solution'.

Jonah at five years old (New Zealander Luke Petterson who was indeed age 5 when the movie was made) in 1942 lives in Amsterdam with his loving mother (Juliet Aubrey) and father (Jean-Hugues Anglade) in a family situation that is filled with love and optimism. Into this setting advance the Nazi occupiers, brand all of the Jews with yellow stars and gradually sequester them, making life crowded and difficult. Jonah narrates all of the action and his viewpoint is untainted by the reality of what is happening. His family is finally removed from their home and transported to a Dutch village where Jonah is told they will all be headed for Palestine soon. But instead of Palestine the intact family is transported to a concentration camp where Jonah and his mother are separated from his father. Jonah watches as his mother is in forced labor and makes friends with other children as best he can, even winning a place in the kitchen for food secretly delivered by the camp cook.

Jonah ages to 8 years (Jenner Del Vecchio) and though frail he is able to exist under the protection and feigned optimism of his mother who repeatedly advises Jonah that whenever the world seems bad, 'look to the sky and never ever hate'.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
...there are quite a few errors within the film which need to be addressed.

The story is told through the eyes of a young boy. Five-year-old Jonah witnesses his family's problems with anti-Semitism and German occupation in 1942 Amsterdam. Although the family is allowed to live in the city during the early part of the occupation, they are soon sent to a transit camp in the outskirts of the city. Jonah is told that they will be going to Palestine so to ease the pain.

The film jumps to three years later, where a more grown (seven- or eight-year-old) Jonah is in a concentration camp with other Jews of many nationalities. The father has been separated from the family. Jonah is still with his mother. He is forced to deal with many situations that he cannot comprehend fully. There are dealings with a group of cruel older children. Jonah becomes witness to his father's failing health and, later, Red Army liberation. I will not spoil the rest of the story.

For 1993, the movie is pretty good. It feels and looks low budget (of course, the Ennio Morricone music aids in keeping the movie from falling to amateurish). The acting, especially from the two actors who play Jonah are excellent (even though they don't have similar faces at all). There are plenty of good secondary characters in the movie, such as the camp cook, the girl who befriends Jonah and his mother at the camp, the young German soldier in the liberation scene, and the older couple who aids Jonah's father earlier in the movie (and return in the end). The actor who plays Jonah's father is really good, too.
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By Jane B. Westbrook on April 27, 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I first saw this film in a Holocaust class and the name of the film was "Jonah Who Lived in the Whale." I looked everywhere for this and finally discovered the name change. It is a story of events that occurred during WWII and how a family went from joyful to sadness. Definitely would recommend this film.
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