The son of the owner of a large Italian cheese factory is kidnapped, but as the factory is on the verge of bankruptcy the owner hatches a plan to use the ransom money as reinvestment in the... See full summary »
Bernardo Bertolucci, along with co-scenarist Gianni Amico, used Dostoievski's 1846, pre-imprisonment novella The Double: A Petersburg Poem, which they moved to Italy and updated to the pro-Vietcong student-protest present,
Collection of short films the summaries of which include; a foreign man moving to Italy, getting married and having a child; a four split scene short involving plot-less images of old ... See full summary »
When an African dictator jails her husband, Shandurai goes into exile in Italy, studying medicine and keeping house for Mr. Kinsky, an eccentric English pianist and composer. She lives in one room of his Roman palazzo. He besieges her with flowers, gifts, and music, declaring passionately that he loves her, would go to Africa with her, would do anything for her. "What do you know of Africa?," she asks, then, in anguish, shouts, "Get my husband out of jail!" The rest of the film plays out the implications of this scene and leaves Shandurai with a choice.Written by
[after he gave her a wedding ring that used to belong to his deceased aunt ]
I love you. Marry me.
Let me go!
Please love me. I'd do anything. What do I have to do to make you love me?
You get my husband out of jail!
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After the first few minutes I knew I could just relax and enjoy this film -- that it would be well-acted, subtle, visually appealing and well-edited. Bertolucci presents an engaging variation of a love triangle with his characteristic sensitivity and attention to detail.
How wonderful to see a film in which the range of human emotions is revealed by acting instead of with clumsy or forced dialogue. We see his hand linger on her dress draped over a chair in her vacant room, her evolving and conflicting attraction and doubts shown in her gestures and expressions -- nothing overstated, much left to the imagination.
The musical score (Chopin, Coltrane, Keita and others) is in itself totally enjoyable as it binds together the images and themes of this fine film. Bertolucci's editing is superb. The film's climax and ending are, well, perfect.
Nine out of ten, maybe more -- I'll be seeing it again soon.
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