Every film that has ever been nominated for an Academy Award in any category. Enjoy!
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.
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.
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.
Roman Polanski's "Tess" is an epic adaptation to Thomas Hardy's romantic novel "Tess of the d'Urbervilles". One cannot help while watching this film to compare it to Cary Fukunaga's masterful adaptation of Jane Eyre. These two films share many similar characteristics such as being adaptations of novels written in the Romanticism era, taking place in England, about a woman dealing with Victorian sexuality and society. The major difference between this film and Jane Eyre is the pacing. Tess is almost three hours long, and you feel every minute. The plot is very intriguing, but some scenes feel more engaging than others. The Oscar-winning cinematography is beautiful, using natural light and pastoral scenes that look like the Old Masters' paintings. The…
Roman Polanski's adaptation of Hardy's amazing novel about class, fate, gender and time is good, but lacks the emotional impact of the source material.
The film is gorgeous and Polanski captures the Wessex (filmed in France) countryside with a serene beauty which offers a needed respite from the grim, bleak, foreboding story and general mood that is present throughout the film. Notably it is the last film of Geoffrey Unsworth, a veteran cinematographer who shot some of the most famous films you can imagine (2001 etc.) altough he only did a few scenes the style is consistent and it seems as if he must have impacted the film's look as it is so good. He also shot Zardoz so he's…
This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Roman Polanski’s epic adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s 1891 novel TESS OF THE D’URBERVILLES is a tremendous enterprise for him since he entirely recreates the rural setting of Wessex during the Victorian era in various locations of France, even forges a fake Stonehedge where our heroine Tess (Kinski) is literally presented as an innocent sacrifice to redeem her sins in the sublime denouement.
Tess is born a farmer’s girl, when her drunkard father John Durbeyfield (Collins) accidentally learns of that his family is authentically descended from a noble family named d’Urbervilles, whose past glory fixates him and his wife (Martin), so after finding out there is a family called d’Urbervilles living in a manor house nearby, they send Tess, their eldest…
um, kinda boring. not worth the runtime in this case
12 years old when i saw this film. I fell head over heels in love with Nastassja. My First Love. At the time she was the most beautiful woman i had ever seen. It's what i remembered the most about this classic film. Oh yes, and it was directed by Roman Polanski. Watched way past i bedtime. Sweet dreams.
when my roommate came home i was watching Tess and she said "Roman Polanksi is a creep" and i said "i know but i love pastoral bs." i have read too many DH Lawrence novels to be critical about this movie.
From the opening moments, Tess' fate is set. She, faceless among a group of girls are led along a dirt road, their path laid out for them by the men who march at the front. The girls even from this initial young age are quickly taught that choice is not for them. They are led like sheep, whose white fleece is mimicked by the white dresses that each and every one of the girls wears.
In the field at the end of this walk, they stand and wait, frozen as if in a painting. For a moment the world has frozen. Until a group of three young men arrive. One, Angel, joins the girls, and in a moment, the field…
Would pair nicely with Mr. Turner.
Above all else a marvelous film to look at.
Some nice subtle bits about the world moving into the future while you're still chained to your past. Achingly tragic.
This isn't the Polanski I'm familiar with. It doesn't even feel the same as his usual film, but it's such a beautiful film to look at. That isn't all, though, it's never dull and it justifies its running time so perfectly. I generally don't care for costume dramas but like Barry Lyndon, I can make an exception if the film is at the very least engaging enough and that's simply what Tess is. In the title role as Tess of the d'Urbervilles, Nastassja Kinski shines so brightly. She is playing a character whom you are left thinking about even after the film is over. Upon her fate (which I will not spoil), I was left heartbroken because Polanski does such…
[after his parents have left, thinking he is ill] "They bought it. Incredible! One of the worst performances of my…