Showing posts with label roman polanski. Show all posts
Showing posts with label roman polanski. Show all posts

23 April 2014

Films set in Lisbon

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After The Night (Ate Ver A Luz) is a striking indie gangster story set in the gritty slums of Lisbon and is out in UK cinemas and VoD from the 25th April.

A visually striking film, it accurately shows Lisbon’s diverse culture, people and surroundings and climbs inside the world of Lisbon’s Creole slums.

We take a look back at a cinematic history of films set in Lisbon…

AFTER THE NIGHT (Ate Ver Luz; 2013; Basil Da Cunha)
An outcast living a solitary nocturnal life with an iguana named Dragon as his only friend, Sombra wanders around in the Creole slums of Lisbon as he is looking for cash to pay back the local gang boss. Dragged into an armed robbery, he runs away and is chased until the early hours of the day.

After The Night is out in cinemas and VoD from the 25th April (watch at I-Tunes)

A TALKING PICTURE (Um Filme Falado; 2004; Manoel de Oliveira)

For some thought-provoking, for others dull – this movie reveals the encounters of a mother and daughter on a Mediterranean cruise. John Malkovich is the captain.

IN VANDA'S ROOM (No Quarto da Vanda; 2000; Pedro Costa)

This award-winning, warts-and-all documentary/fiction provides a close-up of the lives of Cape Verdean slum dwellers and drug addicts in Lisbon’s deprived Fontainhas district.

THE LETTER (A Carta; 1999; Manoel de Oliveira)

Passion, futile love, adultery, tragedy, piety… It's all in this Oliveira classic that won the Jury prize at Cannes.

THE NINTH GATE (1999; Roman Polanski)

Stars Jonny Depp as a rare book dealer seeking out a supernatural demon text. In the course of his travels around Europe through France and Spain, to track down the authentic copy of the book for his client, he visits Sintra in Portugal. It's a picturesque area of Portugal just outside Lisbon with plenty of atmospheric hilltop palaces and castles.
Depp visits Chalet Biester with its turreted outline tucked into lush green woodland exuding mystery.

BONES (Ossos; 1997; Pedro Costa)

A grim and gripping tale of life in the slums on the outskirts of Lisbon, dealing with poverty, suicide and the struggle of love and death.

LISBON STORY (Viagem a Lisboa; 1994; Wim Wenders)

Inventive and beautifully photographed, this German drama follows director Monrow on his quest to finish a silent film in Lisbon. Stars Portuguese band Madredeus and a cameo by Manoel de Oliveira.

THE WINTER IN LISBON (El Invierno en Lisboa; 1992; Jose Antonio Zorrilla)

This crime drama is about a disillusioned US jazz pianist who fl ees to Lisbon where he befriends an artist. The film stars famous trumpet player Dizzy Gillespie.

After The Night is out in cinemas and on VoD from the 25th April

18 March 2013

Tess Blu-Ray Review

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Tess was the film Roman Polanski made at the end of quite arguably his great period coming on the tails of The Tenant and Chinatown (his masterpiece). Tess however is a very different kettle of fish to those 2 films, one is homage to film noir and one a rather disturbing psychological thriller. Tess based on novel Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy. He made Tess in part as a tribute to his wife Sharon Tate who of course was brutally murdered by The Manson family. Sharon gave Roman a copy not long before her untimely death saying “it would make a great film”.

Tess is about a young woman naturally called Tess. Her family the Durbeyfields find out they a part of old noble family. They have fallen on very hard times and her father makes her see their “relatives”. Her father is hoping for some kind hand-out or work. Tess arrives and her Alec d'Urberville falls madly for her and tries to seduce her but Tess isn’t interested. Alec in reality just bought the name to seem more important than he is. He rapes her and impregnates hers but the child soon dies after birth. She starts working on a dairy farm and begins working as a milkmaid and falls in love with Angel Clare. They start a relationship and get married but it does not end well for all parties concerned.

The film is probably most noted for it being the film that propelled Klaus Kinski’s beautiful daughter Nastassja Kinski to worldwide stardom and it’s luscious photography. Nastassja’s accent is patchy at times but it’s more adequate. The supporting cast is very disappointing especially compared to Polanski’s previous work with no real standouts. It’s from all accounts very faithful to the original Thomas Hardy novel (I’ve never read it) and it’s shows cause for such a simple tale, it does drag a bit especially with it’s near 3 hour running time. Despite its flaws it’s absolutely gorgeous to look at and Nastassja Kinski has always being a captivating screen presence.

Tess was the centrepiece of a recent retrospective of Roman Polanski’s work at London’s BFI and it’s no wonder they have re-released it on a blu-ray/dvd double pack. Polanski is better at psychological torment which Tess touches on near the end with it’s unfortunate incident but check out his earlier work before you watch Tess.

Ian Schultz


Rating: 12
Directed By
Buy:Tess (DVD & Blu-ray) [1979]

6 February 2013

BFI to release Roman Polanski's Tess (1979) on DVD & Blu-ray This March

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On 18 March the BFI will release Tess, the triple Oscar-winning 1979 adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s novel, Tess of the d’Urbervilles, directed by Roman Polanski (Chinatown, The Pianist). This beautiful-looking film, mastered from a stunning 4K ultra high resolution digital restoration, is presented in a Dual Format Edition, bringing it to Blu-ray for the first time in the UK. Special features include three documentaries covering the adaptation, the technical challenges and the filming experience.

Nastassia Kinski (Cat People, Paris, Texas) gives a career-defining performance as the ill-fated peasant girl of noble origin, whose beauty is both her fortune and her undoing and has strong support from Peter Firth (Equus, The Hunt for Red October, Spooks) and Leigh Lawson (Being Julia, Casanova, Silent Witness).

Reportedly the most expensive film ever made in France at the time, both the long shoot and post-production work had their problems. Original cinematographer Geoffrey Unsworth died suddenly during filming and was replaced by Ghislain Cloquet. The Wessex setting needed to be authentically recreated in France, right down to a replica Stonehenge. The film was the first in France to use Dolby Stereo and with an initial cut of over three hours, months more work was needed to reduce it by 20 minutes.

The film went on to win Oscars for Art Direction, Cinematography and Costume Design, the latter won by Anthony Powell, whose original designs are seen here in a short film, a BAFTA for Cinematography and a Golden Globe for Best Foreign Film.

Hardy’s enduring 1891 novel continues to sell strongly and last year booksellers reported a huge spike in sales after its appearance and significance in the 4 million-selling erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey.

Special Features:
• New 4K digital restoration
• Presented in both High Definition and Standard Definition
• Tess: From Novel to Screen (Laurent Bouzereau, 2004, 29 minutes, DVD only): Polanski on the adaptation of Hardy's classic novel with contributions from Hardy scholars and cast and crew
• Filming Tess (Laurent Bouzereau, 2004, 26 mins, DVD only): cast and crew discuss the technical challenges they faced
• Tess: The Experience (Laurent Bouzereau, 2004, 20 mins, DVD only): those who worked on Tess discuss their experiences
• Costume Designs (2013, 2 mins): Anthony Powell's award-winning designs
• Original theatrical trailer
• Illustrated booklet with essays and credits

Pre-order / Buy:Tess (DVD & Blu-ray) [1979]

13 September 2012

Innocent Sorcerers DVD Review

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is the first non-War film Andrzej Wajda did coming soon after his much-celebrated War Trilogy in the 1950s and the much lesser known Lotna (which is also a war film). It was a radical departure from his previous WW2 films, it was then contemporary film about young people in Warsaw.

The film tells the story of a young mod (in the original sense, young person who listens to Modern Jazz) called Andrzej (played by
Tadeusz Łomnicki) who is a physician who is a bit of playboy. He plays drums in a jazz band on the side. He is getting fed up of his film sexual successes. He meets a lovely young girl and they spend the night at his place talking, it has obvious sexual tension though out the night.  The film was supposedly more the brainchild of the screenwriter Jerzy Skolimowski much more so they Wajda. It’s very much a part of the overall 60s new wave of cinema, every country pretty much had their own and Poland certainly had it’s with most famously Roman Polanski (who has a bit part), Wajda and others.

It’s a “room film” where 2 people talk for 84 minutes about life. It’s a perfectly good “room” film; I just wish something slightly more dramatic happends. They play a stripping game and have a very long mundane conversation over the night. The stripping scene is very played but the most exciting scenes are of Andrzej hanging around with his band mates and friends talking crap. You can understand why he enamoured with the girl but besides the brilliant tension of the stripping scene, it’s rather bland. The performances are good, it’s well shot but I kinda left me cold. It also features a small role from Zbigniew Cybulski who was the star of his film Ashes & Diamonds and was the Polish James Dean. I did like it but compared to something like the masterful aforementioned Ashes & Diamonds it’s much a lesser work. It’s an interesting film to watch it comparison to other countries’ attempt at doing a very similar thing but The French did it a lot better. It has been beautifully restored by Second Run, it’s available separately or part of the Polish Cinema Classics boxset.

Ian Schultz

DVD Re-Release date:10th September 2012(UK)
Directed by: Andrzej Wajda
Cast:Tadeusz Lomnicki, Krystyna Stypulkowska, Wanda Koczeska, Roman Polanski