AVALON - 1990 – movie - directed & written by Barry Levinson – A Classic Review - players are: Izzy Kirk (Kevin Pollak), Michael Kaye (Tom Wood), Ann Kaye (Elizabeth Perkins), Dottie Kirk (Eve Gordon), Sam Krichinsky (Armin Mueller), Eva Krichinsky (Joan Plowright), Gabriel Krichinsky (Lou Jacobi)
A heart-warming and beautifully directed movie by Barry Levinson. His casting choices are impeccable. As the characters evolved and transitioned I was left with a feeling
that Levinson was born to make this movie. Avalon is one of his series of Baltimore films: “Diner”, “Tin Men”, “Liberty Heights”.
Avalon, in Celtic mythology, is a legendary utopian island beyond the horizon of the
western ocean where the Sword of King Arthur was forged. For Sam Krichinsky, in
1914 and just off the boat from Europe, Avalon is a neighborhood in Baltimore where
he begins his quest create his own utopia in the Land of Plenty.
Sam steps off the boat at night in the middle of a Fourth of July fireworks celebration…a personal welcome to his new country. He sets out to find his four brothers who are waiting for him to join them.
Although Mr. Levinson’s story is about a Jewish family’s assimilation into the American landscape, it depicts the evolution of family relationships that should be
very familiar to
all groups, then and now.
In a time of mutual depravation it is their interdependence that holds the family together. But, in a twist of fate, it is their drive and their success that weakens those very ties. Our story is about how this family and all families evolve as the demands of society increasingly compete with what was once family tradition.
As we move further from those bonds, they begin to loosen their hold. His son Jules and his cousin, Izzy change their name, and are they are swept up in the enthusiasm of a new country that is just beginning to find its own place in a challenging world.
In true entrepreneurial fashion the two brothers evolve from hanging wall paper, to selling pots and pans from door to door, and eventually pooling their resources to open a storefront which expands to a discount warehouse.
In an ironic twist of fate the very medium that launched their success, television, was
about to change how they, and families nation-wide, interact with each other. The evening ritual, of a dinner-time summing up of the day’s activities
suddenly ended as the whole nation sat staring at the TV screen.
It takes a fire that destroys their discount warehouse and leaves them bankrupt, to reveal the true value of those weakened bonds that had been cast aside.
It is the awakening of those ties that provide the confidence and support they need to survive.