OTTAWA’S CINEMA FOR INTERNATIONAL AND INDEPENDENT MOVIES

Journey To Jerusalem

(Patuvane kam Yerusalim)

FREE ADMISSION! Presented by the National Capital Bulgarian Community Association

Disarmingly warmhearted considering the subject, Journey To Jerusalem follows German-Jewish siblings David and Elza (Georgy Georgiev, Simona Staykova), who have fled Nazi Berlin with their aged uncle. When he dies quietly on the train outside of Sofia, the kids are left to fend for themselves.

Poster art for Journey To JerusalemSpeaking no Bulgarian, they fall in with the first people who show interest in their well-being – a troupe of itinerant actors on its way to the sticks.

In particular, the kids are sheltered by singer-dancer-magician’s assistant Zara (Elena Petrova), a dark-eyed beauty whose loudly ticking biological clock goes unheard by longtime boyfriend Dimi, an aging Lothario who once would have been played by John Barrymore or Marcello Mastroianni. Mustachioed Aleksander Morfov is unforgettable in the constantly shifting role. The wild card in the trio of players is Sami (Vasil Vasilev-Zueka), a long-faced sad sack with a resourceful eye in difficult times, although at least half his plans go painfully awry.

Eventually, the conflicted actors decide to help the siblings get to Palestine, where they have relatives, but the ad-hoc family faces a formidable challenge in the form of a new Gestapo chief (Michael Lade) who gradually susses out who the kids are. His weakness, however, is a growing ardour for Zara.

Journey To Jerusalem’s constant flow of songs, colourful set-pieces, sharp gags, and exciting locales make for an edge-of-the-seat ride. Georgi Nikolov’s rich cinematography, flooded by footlights and afternoon sun, adds a lot to an already compelling film.

– Ken Eisner, Variety

 

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