So it was when I brought home two movie DVDs the other day that I pretty much had chosen at random from a selection of nearly 4,000 titles.
One movie, Everything is Illuminated, had caught my attention because it stars Elijah Wood, he of Lord of the Rings fame, and I was curious to see if he had the chops to act outside of his rather limited role as Frodo Baggins. (He can.) The other movie was Wondrous Oblivion, which I picked up because I liked what little I knew of its story line: Gawky English schoolboy is tutored in the finer points of cricket by a Jamaican neighbor in 1960s
Not to give away the plots, let alone the endings, but the "coincidences" between these two coming-of-age movies are fairly amazing.Everything is Illuminated is a 2005 release based on Jonathan Safran Foer's autobiographical novel and was directed by Liv Schreiber. The story: A young and neurotic American Jew (Wood) travels to the
Wondrous Oblivion is a 2003 release written and directed by Paul Morrison. The story: Eleven-year-old David Wiseman (Sam Smith) is the son of German Jewish émigrés and had a grandparent who died in a Nazi death camp. He is crazy about cricket but no good at it. When a cricket-loving Jamaican family moves in next door in their poor and prejudiced
Well, you coulda knocked me over with a feather.
This is because the coincidences between these two very good (if not brilliant) movies are deep and both offer the same rather profound lesson: From the clash of cultures and prejudice can come understanding and comity, virtues that are in notably short supply in today’s screwed up world.