Adam Resurrected

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Adam Resurrected
Adam resurrected ver2.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Paul Schrader
Produced by Ehud Bleiberg
Werner Wirsing
Screenplay by Noah Stollman
Based on the novel
by Yoram Kaniuk
Starring Jeff Goldblum
Willem Dafoe
Derek Jacobi
Ayelet Zurer
Music by Gabriel Yared
Cinematography Sebastian Edschmid
Edited by Sandy Saffeels
Bleiberg Entertainment
3L Filmproduktion
Distributed by Image Entertainment (United States)
3L Filmverleih (Germany)
Release date
  • December 12, 2008 (2008-12-12) (United States)
  • February 19, 2009 (2009-02-19) (Germany)
Running time
106 min
Country Germany
United States
Language English

Adam Resurrected (Hebrew: אדם בן כלב‎, translit. Adam Ben Kelev) is a 2008 American-German-Israeli film, directed by Paul Schrader and adapted from Yoram Kaniuk's novel of the same name published in Israel in 1968 (the book's original name literally means "Man, son of a dog").

Jeff Goldblum stars as the title character, alongside Willem Dafoe, Derek Jacobi and Ayelet Zurer. Several major German stars, including Moritz Bleibtreu, Veronica Ferres, Juliane Köhler and Joachim Król, play supporting roles.


The film, part of which is told through a series of flashbacks, follows the story of Adam Stein (Jeff Goldblum), a charismatic patient of a fictitious psychiatric asylum for Holocaust survivors in Israel, in 1961. Adam was a comedian in Berlin prior to the Second World War, during which he was sent to a concentration camp. Adam manages to survive the war only because his pre-war act was recalled by an SS officer (Willem Dafoe), who takes Adam as his "pet," insisting he act like a dog (as he did during one of his sketches). His humiliation was his ticket to survival, as he was even forced to play the fiddle as his wife and daughter were led to the gas chambers. While he is outwardly charming and witty, Adam is tormented by survivor's guilt and delusions that he is a dog.[1][2][3][4]



The film was screened at several film festivals, including Telluride, Toronto, Mill Valley, AFI, Haifa Film Festival, Valladolid, the Palm Springs International Film Festival and the London Jewish Film Festival. It was released in Germany on January 22, 2009.[5]


Adam Resurrected received a mixed response from critics. Film review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported an approval rating of 35%, based on 37 reviews, with a rating average of 5.2/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Such an unusual tale might have made for a compelling drama, but Adam Resurrected suffers from narrative confusion and an emotional detachment at its core."[6] The website Metacritic gave the film a weighted average score of 58 out of 100, based on 8 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[7]

Adam Resurrected received several positive reviews. Gary Goldstein of The Los Angeles Times wrote, "In a less competitive year, Jeff Goldblum would have had a shot at an Oscar nod for his performance in Adam Resurrected, in which he plays Adam Stein, a mental patient irrevocably haunted by his Holocaust survival. This original drama is less glum than it might sound, thanks to Goldblum's spirited, go-for-broke portrayal and director Paul Schrader's distinctive translation of Noah Stollman's script."[3]

Nathan Rabin of The A.V. Club graded the film a B, also praising Goldblum, whom he credits with a "stunning lead performance." He compared the film's concept with the "notorious unreleased Jerry Lewis monstrosity" that is The Day the Clown Cried, but that Goldblum's performance made Adam Resurrected work. Rabin writes, "Goldblum sells this wildly theatrical character through sheer magnetism. The otherworldly nature of his restless, nervous charisma has seldom been put to better use. Even when it flies off the rails deep into its third act, Resurrected remains strangely hypnotic."[4]

F. X. Feeney of LA Weekly gave a rave review. He compared the film's structure to Federico Fellini's classic , writing, "Where Fellini made ecstasy contagious, Schrader is after much darker vistas — the mystery of how good men fail, and condemn themselves. One cannot recommend this film strongly enough."[2]

Stephen Holden of The New York Times gave the film a negative review, finding it unfunny and full of missed opportunities. "Savage gallows humor might have substituted for pathos. But Adam Resurrected feels so detached that there is not a laugh, nor even a wicked smirk of nihilistic glee, to be gleaned."[1]


  1. ^ a b Holden, Stephen (December 11, 2008). "Jeff Goldblum Plays a Holocaust Survivor in Paul Schrader's Film". The New York Times. Retrieved April 29, 2017.
  2. ^ a b Feeney, F. X. (December 17, 2008). "Adam Resurrected Peers into the Soul of a Condemned Man". LA Weekly. Retrieved April 29, 2017.
  3. ^ a b Goldstein, Gary (December 19, 2008). "Capsule Movie Reviews: 'Adam Resurrected'". The Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on February 2, 2009. Retrieved April 29, 2017.
  4. ^ a b Rabin, Nathan (December 11, 2008). "Adam Resurrected". The A.V. Club. Retrieved April 29, 2017.
  5. ^ "Adam Resurrected - Festivals and Awards". Israel Film Center. Retrieved April 29, 2017.
  6. ^ "Adam Resurrected (2008) - Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 17 November 2016.
  7. ^ "Adam Resurrected Details and Credits - Metacritic". Metacritic. Retrieved 17 November 2016.

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