[after his parents have left, thinking he is ill] "They bought it. Incredible! One of the worst performances of my…
As timely today as the day it was written.
This multiple-Oscar-winning film by Roman Polanski is an exquisite, richly layered adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the d’Urbervilles. A strong-willed peasant girl (Nastassja Kinski, in a gorgeous breakthrough) is sent by her father to the estate of some local aristocrats to capitalize on a rumor that their families are from the same line. This fateful visit commences an epic narrative of sex, class, betrayal, and revenge, which Polanski unfolds with deliberation and finesse. With its earthy visual textures, achieved by two world-class cinematographers—Geoffrey Unsworth (Cabaret) and Ghislain Cloquet (Au hasard Balthazar)—Tess is a work of great pastoral beauty as well as vivid storytelling.
Something that has always gotten me strange looks from groups of friends is a statement I make in regards to Roman Polanski's Tess, a beautifully understated piece of work from a filmmaker whose style has always drawn me in, even at some of his weaker points. Whereas it is not the same style that we may already know Polanski to follow within his body of work, the very reason I find that it stands out among all his others is how much heart it has for anything directed by him, as it is indeed a project that meant so much to him personally. If that were not enough, you can already point at the fact that Nastassja Kinski is indeed…
Review In A Nutshell:
When one hears the name Roman Polanski, most would recall titles like Chinatown, The Pianist, The Ghost Writer, Rosemary's Baby, The Knife in the Water, or The Tenant. For me, the titles that appear in my mind are Tess, Frantic, Macbeth, and Rosemary's Baby (because this one is damn impressive); even if they are lesser than the previously mentioned. I recall these films because they contain either a set of cinematographic beauty or a compelling leading character that stays with you long after they end; it does not matter if their screenplays are inferior to Polanski's other works.
Tess is an adaptation of…
It was around the point when Nastassja Kinski reclined on the ancient polystyrene rocks of Stonehenge that I thought, "This should be a mess, surely?" An adaptation of an English novel set in a fictional county shot in France, directed by a Pole and starring a German, Tess has all the ingredients of an incoherent, flavourless Europudding. What emerges is one of Roman Polanski's most serious, deeply felt works, and a truly powerful, faithful rendition of Thomas Hardy's novel and ideas.
Polanski goes for a retro-epic flavour right from the very start, opening with the full credits in the style of a 1940s movie. This isn't just an affectation, though. Polanski puts them there so the viewer can't walk out…
"Rest at last." - Tess
"Tess" is a captivating story of the tragic life that combines beautiful cinematography with Roman Polanski cynicism. This film is deeply personal to Roman Polanski for two reasons. First, the film is dedicated to Sharon Tate, his first wife who was brutally murdered by the Manson Family, who suggested that he make a film on the book. The grace of the film is a testament to his love of his deceased wife. Second, Polanski was inspired by the peasant society he witnessed in the countryside as a Polish-Jewish child on the run during the Holocaust.
The cinematography is breathtaking, especially considering that the original cinematographer Geoffrey Unsworth died three weeks into the shoot having only…
Roman Polanski's epic period piece earns every minute of its 3 hour run-time with delicate pacing, beautiful 'magic hour' cinematography and fine performances across the board, particularly from a young Nastassja Kinski (even if her accent was a bit iffy at times). Whilst the film's narrative is dense and dour, Polanski ensures that he never betrays the tone of Thomas Hardy's 1891 novel 'Tess of the d'Urbervilles' in his screen adaptation, and causes one to reflect on the plight of the female in an era where it was very difficult to maintain agency over their own body in an unjust society. A visually poetic and enchanting piece that grapples with some weighty themes and deserves a place amongst his finest works.
Roman Polanski's Tess is, without a doubt, the greatest costume drama I have ever seen. Ghislain Cloquet and Geoffrey Unsworth's Academy Award-winning Cinematography is absolutely gorgeous. I find that a lot of the costume dramas are in your face with the beauty that is being displayed. Some even feel like they are more focused on the look of the film instead of the film itself. Tess is not one of those films. Tess manages to capture the Victorian Period that we are in with beautiful imagery and keep a tight, focused narrative. Unlike most costume dramas, Tess is never boring, even though it has a three-hour runtime. Nastassja Kinski is absolutely fantastic in the title role. Many have compared her performance to Ingrid Bergman, and I could not agree more. Tess is Roman Polanski's masterpiece.
A gorgeous and exquisitely produced period piece with meticulous attention to every detail, Tess brilliantly evokes sympathy for its resilient heroine caught in a world where the rich believe their money means they can control the poor and men hold women to far higher standards than themselves. Polanski's paralleling of the classism and sexism is unmissable yet subtle, and the way Tess gets caught in the crossfires of both makes the film tragic and poignant.
O meu maior medo foi o de ser um romance água com açúcar, daí meu primeiro tombo. Achei que o filme toca em assuntos muito interessantes em relação ao papel da mulher na sociedade. Fiquei um pouco decepcionado com o Angel no momento em que ele foi incapaz de entender/perdoar o que ela passou antes de conhecê-lo (quase saiu um spoiler, mas segurei), pois ele passava uma imagem de alguém a frente de sua época, mas seria esperar demais de um homem do século XIX e talvez soaria muito forçado. Me apaixonei pela Tess, pela força, pela independência, pelo ceticismo difícil de se manter em um cenário complicado de tensões sociais e religiosas, uma mulher capaz de errar e acertar, uma heroína de si mesma.
For some reason, I feel this is especially appropriate here.
"Tess" is gorgeously stirring filmmaking that surely belongs in the elite of the "period" drama genre. Being swept up in this retelling of an English literary classic, I'm reminded just how versatile of a director Polanski was. The film is such a potent mix of fine historical detail and vividly drawn characters, you'd think 19th century period pieces were Polanski's chosen forte. And this is from the man who made "Rosemary's Baby," "Repulsion" and "Chinatown"!
Polanski's feel for the mis-en-scene is second to none. Classic English literature is well covered cinematic ground, to say the least. But there's nothing staid about "Tess," Polanski makes this setting immediate and relevant. If a true sign of a master is an ability to…
Natasha Kinski. Beautiful cinematography.
i wanted to watch this because i love sweeping pastoral beautiful moving pictures, but actually this movie is very boring and unwatchable! the plot intrigued me because i really love when women murder their rapists, tho isn't it ironic, don't you think, that this is a roman polanksi movie.
anyway, whoever did the sound on this film should b stoned to death in a public square. if u would like to watch a movie that is 80% ADR and 20% shitty muffled original sound, then i take it back and actually i recommend this for u.
also this was one of the worst scores i have ever heard in my whole entire life. while i know big brass horns and…
Thanks so much, Roman Polanski, for this adaptation. Flawless film. Perfect drama and atmosphere.
It's hard to put much energy behind this in a week which started with the new restoration of #howardsend - if anything it graces me how such period pieces really do need an exceptional focus or style to lift off; they can so easily call into rigamarole and formality. Tess has engaging writing fleetingly and moments that are visually interesting, but it's far from unequivocal to me. Polanski's Macbeth stands much higher in memory. And, see Howards End.
UPDATED: September 30, 2016
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