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subject, screenplay and direction:

Radu Mihaileanu

produced by:

Noe' Productions, Raphael Films

distributed by:

European Academy Distribution

Italian dialogues:

Moni Ovadia

dubbing direction:

Elisabetta Bucciarelli

editing society:



sound art 23


Lionel Abelanski:

Massimo Popolizio


Carlo Valli

Clément Harari:

Gianni Bonagura

Michel Muller:

Fabrizio Vidale


Train of Life
(Train de vie, Belgium / France / Israel / Holland 1998)

It’s 1941: to escape deportation, the inhabitants of a Jewish village in Eastern Europe, upon advice from the village ‘madman’, Schlomo, decide to build a train with which to reach Palestine and therefore freedom. To overcome Nazi checkpoints and controls they pretend to be real deportees so roles are shared: some play the part of prisoners, others pretend to be German soldiers and officers.

They all end up identifying themselves so much in their roles that they argue amongst themselves, creating real and proper factions (some become Communists or try to escape forgetting that the train was meant to be their escape).

Apart from an excellent script – and I purposefully omit the end – I must say that the Italian version of the film is very well done.

The dialogues of Moni Ovadia – who, by the way, is not a dialogist by profession but knows the cultural patrimony of Eastern European Jews in depth – are a genuine proof of elevated scriptwriting material. The acceptance of destiny which is the basis of Yiddish humour is seen in “Train de vie” in all its might: irony, melancholy, a taste of paradox almost make us forget that we are talking about one of the biggest tragedies ever to have taken place in history.

As far as the dubbing direction is concerned, the choice of great actors - Massimo Popolizio as Schlomo, Carlo Valli as Mordechai and Gianni Bonagura as chief Rabbi - has been without doubt fundamental, just as the co-leads have been just as good. The final result is one of extreme naturalness, also thanks to the sinc, in some moments almost perfect.

An excellent job.

[original review in Italian by Elisabetta Fumagalli]


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