Everything is illuminated. - Kyle Emerson Written Research...

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Kyle Emerson Written Research Project A World Apart Main Idea The film Everything is Illuminated is a tale of two different cultures that seem to have nothing in common, but come to find they have more than they could have ever imagined. It shows the extreme contrasts and cultural distinctions between the three characters and is a growing experience for the characters as well as the audience. The wonderful maturation and contrast of the characters is the true gem brought forth by the director. The film brilliantly takes the devastation of the holocaust and turns it into a personal journey of identity unexpected by the three men. It shows the after affects of such an event and what it has to say about ones own dark and buried past, and insists that by finding where you came from, you can truly be set free and find yourself. “Everything is Illuminated in the light of the past, it is always along the side of us, on the inside looking out.” (Alex) Background Facts The story revolves around three central characters: a young American Jew named Jonathan, who protects his family culture by collecting random objects to keep them from ever being forgotten, an elderly Ukrainian man named Alex Sr trying very much to hide and disregard his past, and Alex who is a clever young Ukrainian who is so fixed inside of forgotten American culture that he is absolutely unaware of his own ancestral history. Jonathan travels to Ukraine to find where his grandfather came from and the woman name Augustine who saved him. Alex is the guide who speaks broken English and really captures the essence of this movie through his complex character and watching him grow.
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His grandfather is the driver of the trip and is so disturbed by his past that he has completely abandoned it. So much so that he believes he is “blind” although he has perfect vision, this is used as a metaphor that helps explain this mysterious character. As they set out for the village called Trachimbrod, they experience many differences of coming from different cultures that become the humor of the movie that allows the rest of the story to unfold. As they continue on, it starts to become obvious that Alex Sr is connected to the village Jonathan is searching for because of his facial expressions and his urgency to help him find it. The scenery is so beautiful on their trip it almost seems like a painting. “The territory of Ukraine is mostly a level, treeless plain, calls "steppe".” (Ukraine.org) Central Scene I am writing about the scene where they are at the hotel to spend the night and are getting ready to eat. The scene includes Jonathan, Alex Sr, Alex, and the hotel employee. The three of them are sitting around the table waiting to be served for dinner. The hotel dinning area is a dark and dimly lit room that is nostalgic of the 1940’s and it’s obvious in Jonathan’s face that he is less than excited to eat there. It lacks the vibrant and clean atmosphere that most western establishments would generally provide and that he is accustomed to. This is Jonathan’s first day in the country and he is still ignorant to the
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