Primo Levi's Journey (2007) - Rotten Tomatoes

Primo Levi's Journey (2007)

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Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Primo Levi's Journey Photos

Movie Info

Primo Levi's harrowing memoir If This Is a Man appeared in the U.S. in 1959 as Survival in Auschwitz; historians now regard it as the most critically important written conveyance of the horrors within the Nazi concentration camps. But the account in that text only represents half of Levi's story. The other half began after his release from Auschwitz. Instead of simply returning to his native Turin, Levi and 600 others were forcibly shipped east -- thousands of miles away from their homes. Thus began a grueling, trans-national journey that Levi undertook, across war-ravaged Europe and back to Turin -- a journey that took all of 12 months to complete, and that filled him, alternately, with incredulity, anger, wonder, and astonishment -- as he reflected on the meaning of his own survival in the camps. Levi died in 1987; as a tribute to the belletrist and historian, acclaimed nonfiction filmmaker Davide Ferrario (Far from Rome, Borderline) retraces Levi's route with his cameras in his documentary Primo Levi's Journey. Ferrario travels through Ukraine, Belarus, Moldavia, Romania, Hungary, Germany, and south to his native country, evaluating, at each stop, the sociological climate and the various ways in which Eastern Europe has alternately evolved and remained static over the prior 60 years. Ferrario touches on numerous issues relevant to the contemporary sociopolitical landscape of Eastern Europe, as the Russian satellite countries struggle to develop national identities, and concurrently reflects on the experiences of Levi's original trip. Celebrated Polish filmmaker Andrezj Wajda appears early on and serves as a "tour guide" for one of the first legs of the voyage.

Cast

Umberto Orsini
as Narrator (Italian)
Chris Cooper
as Narrator (English)
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Critic Reviews for Primo Levi's Journey

All Critics (20) | Top Critics (11)

Italian documentary filmmaker Davide Ferrario, who specializes in what he calls "on the road" documentaries, decided to retrace Primo Levi's steps in modern Europe. It was a wise choice.

Full Review… | November 2, 2007
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

Fascinating.

November 1, 2007
L.A. Weekly
Top Critic

Primo Levi's Journey is a rather unfocused but ultimately provocative portrait of Eastern Europe.

August 22, 2007
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic

The film lacks a certain coherence, and Levi -- one of Italy's most important postwar writers -- is mostly relegated to an excuse for a sociopolitical travelogue.

Full Review… | August 17, 2007
New York Daily News
Top Critic

Vividly impressionistic and delightfully curious.

August 17, 2007
New York Times
Top Critic

A profound meditation on the unevenness of history, reminding us -- as Faulkner once remarked -- that the past not only isn't dead, it isn't really past at all.

Full Review… | August 16, 2007
Salon.com
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Primo Levi's Journey

Aside from being narrated with bits from Levi's writings, this doesn't really have a lot to do with him. It follows his European trek and lacks a sense of coherence. Occaisionally entertaining and always well-meaning, but still a miss.

Heather Russell
Heather Russell

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