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R: ARCHIVE, S: MOVIES, D: 12/17/1998,

The Truce


Auschwitz survivor Primo Levi feared that time would compress the horrors of the Holocaust into a neat chapter of history. It is with unfortunate irony, then, that director Francesco Rosi traces Levi's odyssey from the concentration camp to his home town of Torino in a patchwork of affecting but ultimately disjointed vignettes. John Turturro plays the owlish chemist and writer (who committed suicide in 1987) with a quiet yet complex mix of irony, fragility, and tenacity. But Levi's brilliant, deeply psychological recountings of his survival, published in a 1963 memoir of the same name, seem too intricate for film.