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Primo Levi's Journey

2.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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(Mar 31, 2009)
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Editorial Reviews

In the winter of 1945, Primo Levi, one of the century's greatest writers, was liberated from the Auschwitz concentration camp. With the war still underway, he embarked on a thousand mile journey to his home in Turin, Italy - a strange, beguiling odyssey m

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Chris Cooper
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: Italian
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Cinema Guild
  • DVD Release Date: March 31, 2009
  • Run Time: 92 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001UE4916
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #31,871 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
We were disappointed. This is not a movie based on Primo Levi's book. It's a collection of interviews. Not interesting.
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Format: DVD
I like documentaries, especially good ones. This is not it. It has little to do with Primo Levi, lacks emotional value, and is a disjointed travelogue through the most dismal remnants of the Soviet Union. On the second page of the "scenes," #14 states something like "Budapest to Monaco."
I looked forward to seeing Monaco, a place I went to as a youth but did wonder why Primo went all the way down there. Ha! It was Budapest to Munich. That's a big difference.

This is one of the weirdest things I've ever watched. If you're looking for an outstanding and memorable documentary, please get "Searching For Sugarman." I could not recommend that film more.
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I was disappointed in that this was a retrospective that didn't quite capture the feeling of experience as in the John Turturro movie on Primo Levi. However, it did give information about Levi's return route which was had to follow and lacked any entertainment value.
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Format: DVD
"Primo Levi, born in Turin, Italy, in 1919, and trained as a chemist, was arrested during the Second World War as a member of the anti-Fascist resistance and deported to Auschwitz in 1944. His experience in the death camp and his subsequent travels through Eastern Europe were the subject of powerful memoirs, fiction and poetry. Levi died in Turin in April 1987." From:[...]

I decided to start with this basic information because the documentary assumes the viewer already knows about Levi. I'd recommend watching "Interviews" first. You can find it on the menu. This gives background on the Italian documentary filmmakers and why they decided to trace Levi's journey. It seems that Levi's works are very commonly assigned in high school in Italy, but then people usually forget about them. The filmmakers wanted to make his journey come alive.

The documentary retraces Levi's journey after being freed from Auschwitz. He falls in with a Soviet convoy and ends up going deep into the USSR before finally going back west and returning to Italy. What the filmmakers did is go to the places Levi went and see what was there.

While the documentary begins by being very artsy, it gathers power over the course of it and ends by being a powerful statement about the continuing relevance of Levi's work and life. The film shot in Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, etc, is often really beautiful. I've been to Russia, and this documentary really captures the feel of the place.

This is not really a straightforward documentary about Primo Levi but a more personal response to his work and journey. One of the points is that this is Europe. Both east and west are one Europe. I found the section on Germany to be especially thought-provoking and there's an implied contrast with the slower-paced life in the the east that's very interesting. The section on Chernobyl is also moving.

Not a perfect work, but one worth seeing.
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