Featuring a remarkable international cast peppered with star cameos, Adam Resurrected is essential viewing for 2009. US auteur Paul Schrader (American GigoloThe Walker) proves a suitably imaginative choice to direct this big-screen version of Yoram Kaniuk’s 1969 novel Adam Ben Kelev, a dazzlingly original account of Holocaust survival. Jeff Goldblum is a revelation as Adam Stein, a charismatic Berlin circus impresario who survives the camps by acting as pet ‘dog’ to SS Commandant Klein (Willem Dafoe).

By 1961 Adam rules the roost as a patient at a stark psychiatric institute in the Negev Desert, run by Dr. Gross (Sir Derek Jacobi) and the sternly seductive Nurse Gina (Ayelet Zurer). But a strange new arrival re-awakens Adam’s guilt at his family’s fate. Schrader and screenwriter Noah Stollman’s blackly comic vision scatters Adam’s purgatorial present with atmospheric music-hall flashbacks and glimpses of his post-war life in Haifa and Tel Aviv, creating an inimitable portrait of rebellion and survival. SM