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    The Giraffe

    Paying the Holocaust's costs

    "The Giraffe" spins a complicated mystery that starts when a Holocaust survivor reaches out to a man she thinks is her father, and she's suddenly found in a puddle of blood.


    In a spectacularly filmed opening sequence, a German chocolate factory is firebombed in the kind of ethnic violence that has traumatized Germany in the last decade. The elderly owner barely escapes alive.

    Original title: Meschugge.
    Directed by: Dani Levy.
    Written by: Dani Levy and Maria Schrader.
    Cast: Dani Levy, Maria Schrader, David Strathairn, Lynn Cohen.
    In English and German with English subtitles.
    The attack is big news around the world, including in a New York paper where a Holocaust escapee (Lynn Cohen) sees it and believes the man in the picture is her father. She and her son (Dani Levy) have a telegram sent, but the reply is negative — it's not her father after all.

    Suddenly, the mother is found bloody and sprawled in a hotel hallway, on the verge of death. Perhaps she had an accident. But slowly, the son David and a lawyer he's hired (David Strathairn) start asking questions and discover a very puzzling mystery with roots in the Nazi era. Into this enigma drops Lena (Maria Schrader), the German man's granddaughter, who just happens to be the one who found the mother. Surely no coincidence. When her family begins to act strangely, she too starts asking questions.

    The Giraffe  
    "The Giraffe" is a skillfully constructed mystery that raises questions about the effects that the Holocaust even now on people's lives today, and on the minds of people with connections to it. It does so in an interesting way: It puts the burden onto a young man and woman whose connection to that time is only indirect, and it is never certain whether their obvious attraction or their mutual suspicion will win out. And it repeatedly crosses between German and English, Germany and America, Jew and Gentile, until nothing is what it seems and nobody is sure of the truth, right up to the surprising end.

    FEBRUARY 1, 2000

    Reader comments on The Giraffe:

  • The Giraffe   from Lorraine McFarland, Feb 19, 2001
  • WOW   from Steffie, Sep 17, 2003
  • Where can I find this great movie?   from Rhonda Pirtle, Sep 4, 2009

  • Post a comment on "The Giraffe"