The 5 elephants are Dostoyevsky's great literary works, all of which have been translated by the 87-year-old
Svetlana Geier, considered the world's most masterful translator of Russian literature into German. The filmmaker visits with a woman whose fascinating, dramatic life story has been colored by some of the most violent events in 20th century European history: Stalin's purges of the kulaks (responsible for her father's death) and the Nazi occupation of the Ukraine (ultimately responsible for saving her life and leading to a university education in Germany). A rigorous intellectual whom we're privileged to watch parse the language, word by word, with her colleague, she warms the screen with the depths of her dignity and humanity. Language as a civilizing force is the thread that runs through Geier's life, and it illuminates every minute of the film. --(c) Cinema Guild
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