Left Luggage review

Antwerp in the 1970s: Chaja (Fraser) is an impetuous university student whose parents (Schell and Sagebrecht) are both survivors of the Holocaust. The youngster secures a job as a nanny with Mr and Mrs Kalman (Krabbe and Rossellini), a Hassidic Jewish family, and although she despises their orthodox values, she nevertheless forms a close bond with their five-year-old son. This unlikely friend-ship, however, is destined to end in tragedy.

Left Luggage is a work of impeccable liberal intentions, a European co-production that has a Dutchman directing a mainly continental - - but English-speaking - - cast. It stresses the value of religious tolerance and self-acceptance, while depicting the continued presence of anti-semitism.

Although there are some interesting narrative strands - - notably how Chaja's mother and father struggle with the burden of their traumatic pasts - - the writing strays towards caricature in the portrayal of the bigoted caretaker, and throughout it remains difficult to accept Scottish actress Fraser potraying a Belgian Jew.

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