Every film that has ever been nominated for an Academy Award in any category. Enjoy!
As timely today as the day it was written.
A simple country girl is torn between the honest farmer who loves her and a corrupt nobleman.
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…
"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.
So nice we get the credits twice
One of Polanski's best. Nastassja Kinski is mesmerizing. She gives life to a deeply and fully realized female character, whose existence alone is something to cheer about. The film is based on a classic Thomas Hardy novel, but one never gets the sense Polanski is attempting a straightforward adaptation. There's directorial inspiration here, much of it.
Visually arresting cinema for sure and that is what mainly captures the attention and eye when watching Polanski's adaptation of the classical novel. Essentially an ode to his late wife Sharon Tate who had given Polanski the idea to adapt the piece of literature by Thomas Hardy (as well as interest in playing the part of Tess). Polanski treats the material with great care despite all of the adversities and troubles occurring in his life around this time (His fleeing from the statutory rape charge is also what prevented him from filming this in England rather than in France of where he had to settle for).
Still as great of a period piece as this is and honestly a great…
One of the best films I've seen so far this year. Started it at 2 am and wound up staying awake through the whole thing. I could say a ton about this movie and will soon but for now I just need to say how much I liked it and how highly I recommend it.
I just re-read the novel...I feel like Polanski had to elevate the rape to a mistress-hood so that her 'crime' would equate to a bit more (in the eyes of then-contemporary viewers) than simply not being a virgin...which hurts what should (to a pretty substantial degree) be a critique of the mores of Victorian sexuality...and with so much on-point it felt weird that they didn't give Alec the fire 'n brimstone preacher-backslide treatment. BUT all reservations amount to a handful of faulty seeds that count for nothing against the greater cinematic harvest, a milky golden pastureland powerhouse gorged on by ravenous cameramen who bend the sunlight to their will. Polanski never does anything to suggest that he's somehow above the material, that he has to pervert it to meet the garishness quota that most of his other creepfest suspense thrillers meet several times over. He even elides the murder at the end, just like the novel! Yay!!!! Best movie ever!
I worried that, because of the director (sorry, but come on - you were thinking it too) I would find this film unsympathetic. Which wasn't the case - but I think the credit for that might be owed to Kinski's performance (or simply her face - one of the most expressive of any actor I've ever seen) more than anything else.
Yet even the sexual assault scene took place in a setting that could only be described as pastoral (unlike the depressing two hours that followed). Likewise, the 'quasi-consent' depicted in the initial kiss made it out to be far more romantic than I thought appropriate. Maybe it was thought necessary because of the lush treatment of the story, but it was a compromise that still didn't sit entirely well with me.
This isn't just the story of one woman, but of so many women whose stories were never told. Such a gorgeous, captivating, thrillingly well-made film.
What a lush and vibrant movie, decked out with gorgeous costume design, decadent cinematography, and a great story and performances to boot.
Visually sumptuous, but the rather one-note victimhood of Nastassja Kinski, somewhat miscast as an English peasant, offers diminishing returns over the film's epic length.
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.
Skirts the edge of greatness without quite getting there; each individual moment is perfectly filmed and mounted (and the film moves quickly, too: it's three hours long but feels half that length) but Polanski doesn't really seem to have a vision for this material, any overriding purpose aside from his conviction that it would make a good story (I suppose it might illustrate the difficulty in being simultaneously a poor and beautiful woman ("even beauty has its price") but that's pretty banal). As such, it is one of the best 18th/19th century novel adaptations, technically and dramatically perfect in almost every respect, but compared to something like Kubrick's Barry Lyndon, which was a masterpiece and was a distinctive (and completely cold-blooded) depiction of its material, Tess plays it straight, and because of this must content itself with merely being an excellent movie.
I don't know that this is a point of argument for anyone else, but I figure it like this:
I would much rather watch Barry Lyndon again than ever re-watch Tess.
Which is to say, given the option of looking at Nastassja Kinski for three hours or watching Ryan O' Neal for the same basic amount of time, I would willingly choose Ryan O' Fucking Neal.
Therefore, empirically speaking, Stanley Kubrick is a much better director than Roman Polanski.
[after his parents have left, thinking he is ill] "They bought it. Incredible! One of the worst performances of my…
The entire Criterion collection organized by spine number.
I don't know why I did this.
Number I've Seen: 190/768 (25%)…