Everything Is Illuminated (film)

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Everything Is Illuminated
Everything Is Illuminated film.jpg
Everything Is Illuminated movie poster
Directed by Liev Schreiber
Produced by Marc Turtletaub
Peter Saraf
Matthew Stillman
Written by Screenplay:
Liev Schreiber
Jonathan Safran Foer
Starring Elijah Wood
Eugene Hütz
Boris Leskin
Laryssa Lauret
Music by Paul Cantelon
Sergei Shnurov
Cinematography Matthew Libatique
Editing by Andrew Marcus
Craig McKay
Distributed by Warner Independent Pictures
Release dates September 16, 2005
Running time 106 mins.
Country USA
Language English, Russian, Ukrainian
Budget $7,000,000
Box office $3,601,974 (worldwide)

Everything Is Illuminated is a 2005 comedy-drama film, written and directed by Liev Schreiber and starring Elijah Wood and Eugene Hütz. It was adapted from the novel of the same name by Jonathan Safran Foer, and was the debut film of Liev Schreiber both as a director and as a screenwriter.[1]


Jonathan Foer, (played by Elijah Wood) a young American Jew, goes on a quest to find the woman, Augustina, sister of Lista (played by Laryssa Lauret), who saved his grandfather during the Holocaust in a small Ukrainian town called Trachimbrod that was wiped off the map when the Nazis liquidated Eastern European shtetls. His guides are a cranky, anti-semitic grandfather (played by Boris Leskin); his deranged Border collie named Sammy Davis Jr. Jr.; and his over-enthusiastic grandson, Alex (played by Eugene Hutz), whose fractured command of English, passion for American pop culture, and constant chatter threaten to make the worst of every situation. But what starts out as the tour from hell turns into a meaningful journey, with an unexpected series of revelations that will change all of their lives.[2]


The score for Everything Is Illuminated features eight original tracks composed by Paul Cantelon,[3] along with songs by Russian ska punk band Leningrad, Arkady Severny, Csókolom, Tin Hat Trio, and Gogol Bordello, whose lead singer plays Alex. The band members of Gogol Bordello play the band in the train station where the character Alex has come to meet his US client, Jonathan Foer. DeVotchKa's single "How It Ends" is featured in the trailer, but not in the official soundtrack.


  • The subtitles translate the headstone as "Alexander Baruch Perchov", whereas the Russian reads "Aleksandr Barukh Perets". Presumably "Peretz" was the original family name.
  • At one point, the Grandfather says "Take the Jew with you", while the subtitles read "Leave the Jew here".
  • Alex and the Grandfather keep referring to Jonathan as "žid" ("жид"), which is translated in the subtitles as "Jew," but is actually closer to "Yid (From Yiddish)."
  • Alex and his family speak Russian with occasional Odessite influence - Odessa being a mostly Russian speaking city in Ukraine.

Critical response[edit]

American Chronicle recounted the film as one of the "rare films that encapsulate the emotion of discovery and drama with humor",[4] while Time Out called it "an unbelievably assured debut as a director".[5] Roger Ebert praised the film and gave it 3 and a half stars out of 4.[6]

The film lost money at the box office, as the gross receipts never surpassed even the small budget of the production.



External links[edit]