A few nights ago I had the pleasure of viewing a delightful movie called “Everything Is Illuminated”. It is based on the novel by Jonathan Safran Foer which describes a trip to the Ukraine which the author took in order to find the village in which his grandfatherwas born. In the movie he undertakes the journey in order to find the woman who saved his grandfather from the Nazis in 1942. The film is mainly in Russian with English subtitles but it is beautifully made and describes a bittersweet personal history of this time in Mr. Foer’s life.
If you wish to learn more about this film you will find an excellent critique in the Houston Chronicle at http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ae/movies/reviews/3385392.html
Better still, if you subscribe to Netflix it is available for streaming http://movies.netflix.com/WiSearch?v1=Everything%20Is%20Illuminated&oq=everything&ac_posn=1
Although, when I’m asked to create a personal history for an individual it usually comprises as much of the individual’s life history that can be practically recorded in the time allotted to the project. However, I feel that this movie provides an excellent example of how one incident might be worth recording alone in its entirety. If the project is properly conceived, planned, and executed it will provide the type of insight into their loved one’s personal history that should be recorded for future generations of their family. I have already successfully carried out such a project. After completing a three hour personal history for the family of a gentleman who escaped from Nazi Germany in 1940 I took the segment which consisted of his escape from Germany and his journey to meet his family in Bolivia. This included a disastrous fire on the ship in which he and his family were traveling, their rescue, and their final journey to their destination. This made a moving 50 minute segment of his life history and it was well received by a large group of his relatives and friends. I did considerable research on this and was able to find pictures and newspaper cuttings from archives to enhance the video.