7.0/10
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42 user 37 critic

Besieged (1998)

L'assedio (original title)
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0:31 | Trailer

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While in exile in Italy, an African woman finds herself trying to get back home and free her imprisoned husband. But the only man that can help her do so is in love with her.
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4 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Thandie Newton ... Shandurai
David Thewlis ... Jason Kinsky
Claudio Santamaria ... Agostino
John C. Ojwang John C. Ojwang ... Singer
Massimo De Rossi Massimo De Rossi ... Patient
Cyril Nri Cyril Nri ... Priest
Paul Osul Paul Osul ... Piano Buyer
Veronica Lazar ... Piano Buyer
Gian Franco Mazzoni Gian Franco Mazzoni ... Piano Buyer (as Gianfranco Mazzoni)
Maria Mazetti Di Pietralata Maria Mazetti Di Pietralata ... Piano Buyer
Andrea Quercia Andrea Quercia ... Child pianist at concert
Alexander Menis Alexander Menis ... Child at concert
Natalia Mignosa Natalia Mignosa ... Child at concert
Lorenzo Mollica Lorenzo Mollica ... Child at concert
Elena Perino Elena Perino ... Child at concert
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Storyline

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 <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

watching tv | jail | english | love | gift | See All (110) »

Taglines:

Touched by Genius. Cursed by Madness. Blinded by Love.

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for brief sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Italy | UK

Language:

English | Italian | Swahili

Release Date:

5 February 1999 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

Apgultyje See more »

Filming Locations:

Italy See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$159,289, 23 May 1999, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$2,032,621, 1 August 1999
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Shot over a period of 28 days. See more »

Quotes

Jason Kinsky: [after he gave her a wedding ring that used to belong to his deceased aunt ] I love you. Marry me.
Shandurai: Let me go!
Jason Kinsky: Please love me. I'd do anything. What do I have to do to make you love me?
Shandurai: You get my husband out of jail!
See more »


Soundtracks

Prelude in E Flat Minor
from "The Well-Tempered Clavier"
Composed by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performed by Stefano Arnaldi
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A finely constructed film, a story worth telling.
19 June 1999 | by Dr. Don-2See all my reviews

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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