The story of a man who couldn't or wouldn't tell his own story, and of the boy who needed to know.
‘Grandpa... Speak To Me In Russian’, by Louis Lentin, is an innovative quest based on memory, conjecture and love centering on the life of the director's paternal Grandfather, Kalman Solomon Lentin who arrived in Ireland as a boy of fourteen in the mid 1890's from the Lithuanian shtetl of Zhidik He came and stayed, first joining the ranks of the Jewish peddlers travelling the roads selling household items on the 'weekly system' . Their best seller... Holy pictures! Kalman never saw his parents again, never spoke of them, or of life in Zhidik.
What happens to a boy of fourteen whose life is fractured like this? As Louis says: "For my Grandfather belonging seemed of no importance. A taciturn man, he appeared purely to exist, probably deciding that Ireland was as good a place as any to be left alone, earn a living, have a family. He remained what he was. A Litvak.
Kalman's story intertwines with mine, an involved Irish-Jew, yet always conscious of the hyphen, the insider-outsider. Indeed who can I be if not a reflection of my past?"
A daring visual and aural interweaving of past, present, reality, memory and conjecture invests the film with a uniquely fascinating quality.