Picks and Pans Review: The Truce
When the gates to the Auschwitz concentration camp were pulled down by conquering Russian troops in 1945, Primo Levi, a 25-year-old Jewish Italian chemist who had barely survived 10 months of imprisonment there, knew exactly where he wanted to go: home. And that was Turin, where his family awaited him in the airy apartment in which he had grown up. His long, circuitous trip back took him from Poland to Russia, Rumania, Hungary, Austria and Germany before he finally reached Italy. (The Long Way Home, a documentary featuring similar stories, won an Oscar in March.) Along the way, Levi slowly rediscovered an appreciation for life and its pleasures, both big and small.
The Truce, based on Levi's book, The Reawakening (published in the U.S. in 1965), is a road movie, but one with more on its mind than getting to the next stop. As Levi, Turturro strikes a perfect balance between despair and laughter. Always hanging over the film, though, is the sad knowledge that Levi, in 1987, unable ever to quite shake his memories, hurled himself to his death down the staircase of the very same Turin apartment building to which he had returned with such hope in 1946. (R)
Bottom Line: Inspiring look at a Holocaust survivor's journey home