Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Look to the Sky|
Actor: Look to the Sky
Director: Roberto Faenza
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
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 T... more »
'Look to the sky, and never ever hate'
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 12/31/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"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 Originally made in 1993 in Italy from a story by Hugh Fleetwood and Roberto Faenza (who also directs), this honored film re-visits the Holocaust but almost entirely through a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'. Jonah's father is allowed to see his family for a stolen moment, a time when the father and mother attempt to hide their anguish in a moment of passion, a moment Jonah witnesses. Soon after, his father dies and eventually his mother dies at the moment when the Allied Forces are freeing the prisoners. Jonah is returned to Amsterdam where he is taken in by friends of the family and how he deals with his memories so firmly embedded in his mind and manages to go on living is the tender ending to the story.
The 5-year-old Luke Petterson is a wonder as Jonah, managing to create a credible character almost entirely by facial expressions (his lines are minimal). And Aubrey and Anglade are superb as is the young Jenner Del Vecchio and the rest of the supporting cast. The film is in English, Yiddish, and German but is without subtitles - a factor that actually enhances the story as Jonah does not understand the words of the Nazis, only their actions, and that places the audience in a compatible mindset with the child. The cinematography by János Kende captures the essence of beauty of Amsterdam as well as the horrors of the concentration camp and the award-winning score by Ennio Morricone is one of this master's finest. Few films dealing with the Holocaust are as moving as this. It is a must see for all viewers. Grady Harp, December 07
An Amazing Performance
Amos Lassen | Little Rock, Arkansas | 07/23/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Look to the Sky"
An Amazing Performance
Amos Lassen and Cinema Pride
Picture This Entertainment is releasing the World War II drama "Look to the Sky" in a newly remastered and restored format. It was originally made in 1993 and will now be available for the first time on DVD in the United State.
"Look to the Sky" is loosely based on the book "Childhood" by Jona Oberski and is the story dealing with the Holocaust from an extremely hopeful perspective. A young Dutch boy, Jonah, is forced to spend most of his childhood behind the walls of a Nazi concentration camp where he struggles daily to remember his parents and their love. He also attempts to get along with others in the camp. Jonah's own strength allows him to grow up and survive the ordeal.
This is simply a beautiful movie dealing with a horrible subject and it is a tribute to those that perished at the hands of the Nazis.
Jonah is taken away by Nazi soldiers when he was four years old. He and his parents were moved from their home in Amsterdam to a small Dutch countryside village and ultimately to a camp. Jonah, unaware of what is going on around him holds on tightly to his parents and depends upon the memories of his past to get hen through the horror. This way he is able to face the terrible things that are soon to happen and he can observe life with a different outlook. He does sense that his life will never be the same.
Jonah's memory is incredible. He sees and remembers everything very clearly. He faces hardships and unbelievable horrors but there are also beautiful acts of kindness. What he sees most of all is his own struggle to survive. He is determined to leave this all behind him and he does survive, badly bruised but alive.
I must make mention of the actor who plays young Jonah--Luke Patterson. There is not a word to describe the depth and breadth of his performance. Without actually speaking a great deal (he has few lines), he grunts and moans are gives us an actor that we should feel that we are honored to watch him. His timing and facial expressions are absolutely amazing. He manages to capture the mood and emotion of a young person who is faced with racial discrimination without knowing why and he delivers the entire gamut of human life which appears to be written across his face.
Like other movies dealing with this dark era of human history this movie is depressing. But it is also uplifting to see the triumph of the human spirit and the feeling that I had when the movie was over is impossible to describe.