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Die Geschichte der Liebe (The History of Love)
France/Canada/Romania/U.S.A. 2016

Opening 20 Jul 2017

Directed by: Radu Miahileanu
Writing credits: Radu Miahileanu
Principal actors: Gemma Arterton, Derek Jacobi, Mark Rendall, Sophie Nélisse, Elliot Gould

Die Geschichte der Liebe is a touching story about the love of a Jewish couple that endures a lifetime in spite of tragic circumstances that prevent the two from marrying and living together. Originally written and produced in English as The History of Love, it is based on a novel by the American author Nicole Krauss and adapted by the Romanian born director Radu Mihaileanu, both of whom have Jewish roots which they explore in their art. The power of love and the written word are the focus of this moving and poignantly humorous film. First set in a Shtetl in Poland just before the outbreak of World War II, it begins with a romance between a high spirited young woman, Alma Mereminsiki (Arterton), and an aspiring young writer Léo Gursky (Rendall). When Alma immigrates to the United States to escape Nazi persecution, she makes Léo promise to send her a chapter of the book he is writing with every letter, knowing that a commitment of this kind may help to keep him alive. In turn, Léo promises to make her laugh all her life and writes a book about the most beloved woman in the world, his Alma. After years of trials and tribulations, Léo finally makes it to New York, only to find that Alma has married someone else. Léo and Alma cannot be reunited, but Léo chooses to live near Alma’s home in an old Jewish section of New York. The story switches to a later period in Léo’s life, with the role played by the famous English theater actor Derek Jacobi.  Léo is no longer able to write but works as a locksmith and continues to maintain his rather droll sense of humor. The second storyline of the film deals with the manuscript of Léo’s book, which seems to have disappeared but then by various twists and turns of fate turns up in South America, is published in Spanish by a different author, and given to a woman translator in New York by her late husband. This woman is so enamored with the book that she names her own daughter Alma after the main character. She translates the book into English, and her daughter Alma (Nélisse) eventually discovers who the real author of the book is. Young Alma and Léo meet and have a charming encounter that compensates Lèo for all the losses he has had to endure - a wonderful and uplifting fairytale, if you can follow all the convolutions of Léo’s history. (Pat Nevers)

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