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.
Included In Lists:
Criterion Collection - #697
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 the classic novel, Tess of the…
"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…
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.
A truly harrowing yet majestic film from Roman Polanski as it's one of his finest films as it explores the troubled fate of a strong-willed peasant girl whose connection to a prestigious family would doom her as the titular character is played with such grace by Nastassja Kinski.
My original review (which I still stand by):
A sprawling three-hour masterpiece from auteur Roman Polanksi, based on the novel Tess d'Urberville by Thomas Hardy. I'm still in awe of what I've just seen. Truly a spectacle to behold. A story of social inequities, ignorance, abuse and enduring love and sacrifice. In the late 1800's.
Such beauty and horror share screen time. Shot in over 80 different locations, there is not a shot that looks like it wouldn't be suitable hanging on a wall in a museum. Kinski, at the young age of 17, is spellbinding to watch. The transformation she goes through, from naïve, to hateful. It really is beguiling to watch.
From start to finish, Tess is as riveting as it is absorbing. Making the most of all it's surroundings and wonderful actors that leave an everlasting impression when the credit role.
Polanski's adaptation benefits from the permissive mores of the time in bringing a colder brutality to Tess's fate by treating the novel's implications with an unflinching attitude that stays true to the harsh world Hardy crafts. Polanski's adaptation also invests Tess with considerably more agency, allowing her growing rage to manifest free of judgement as she is deadened by the abuses of the men in her life and the callous disregard of others.
The stark themes of the film are set against the film's striking painterly cinematography which implies a disconnect between the harshness of humanity and the beauty of the surrounding landscape. The film's finely composed framing persistently sets Kinski against these lush, wide landscapes but pointedly separates her…
The entire Criterion collection organized by spine number.
I don't know why I did this.
Number I've Seen: 189/764 (25%)
[after his parents have left, thinking he is ill] "They bought it. Incredible! One of the worst performances of my…