Posts Tagged ‘Ryuichi Sakamoto’

THE SHELTERING SKY – Ryuichi Sakamoto

October 22, 2020 Leave a comment


Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The Sheltering Sky is an epic romantic drama film directed by Bernardo Bertolucci, based on the 1949 novel of the same name by Paul Bowles. It stars Debra Winger and John Malkovich as married American couple Kit and Port Moresby, who arrive in Algeria in 1949 on a holiday which they hope will rekindle their failing marriage. However, the harshness of the Saharan environment, coupled with Port’s jealousy and his suspicions that Kit is having an affair with their friend and travelling companion George Tunner (Campbell Scott), only makes things worse, leading to tragedy, death, and madness. The novel is one of the most acclaimed works of the twentieth century, and has been described by many commentators as one of the most compelling explorations of alienation and existential despair ever written, but the film was less successful; although praised for its visual magnificence, some critics called it “insufferably dull,” and a film which “dries up in that symbolic desert sun, the victim of its own pretensions” that “gets stuck in the sand right at the start.” Read more…

THE HANDMAID’S TALE – Ryuichi Sakamoto

April 2, 2020 Leave a comment


Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The recent Hulu television adaptation of Margaret Attwood’s novel The Handmaid’s Tale is one of the most critically acclaimed shows of all time. It tells of a dystopian future set in the aftermath of a second American Civil War, and the rise of a hard-line Christian theocracy called Gilead in what was once New York State. One of the issues that led to the civil war was a calamitous drop in fertility rates, and in Gilead women who are found to be capable of giving birth to children are commandeered and forced to work as ‘handmaids,’ essentially concubine sex-slaves who are raped monthly by their assigned regional Commanders in the hope that they become pregnant. With this religious authoritarianism, female disenfranchisement, and environmental disaster as its backdrop, the story unfolds through the eyes of a handmaid named Kate, re-named Offred, who is assigned to a family headed by the cruel Commander Waterford and his coldly indifferent wife Serena. What many people forget is that this story has been told once before, as a 1990 movie directed by the acclaimed German filmmaker Volker Schlöndorff from a screenplay by Harold Pinter, which starred Natasha Richardson as Offred, Robert Duvall as the Commander, and Faye Dunaway as Serena. Read more…

THE LAST EMPEROR – Ryuichi Sakamoto, David Byrne, and Cong Su

November 30, 2017 Leave a comment


Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

They don’t make movies like The Last Emperor anymore. A lavish historical epic directed by the great Italian filmmaker Bernardo Bertolucci and starring John Lone, Joan Chen, and Peter O’Toole, the film tells the life story of Pu Yi, the last monarch of the Chinese Qing dynasty prior to the republican revolution in 1911. It is set within a framing story wherein the adult Pu Yi – a political prisoner of communist leader Mao Zedong – looks back on his life, beginning with his ascent to the throne aged just three in 1908, and continuing through his early life growing up in the Forbidden City in Beijing, and the subsequent political upheaval that led to his overthrow, exile, and eventual imprisonment. It’s an enormous, visually spectacular masterpiece that balances great pageantry and opulence with the very personal story of a man trying to navigate his life as a figurehead and monarch, and how he balances that with his private life and his political and social importance. It was the overwhelming critical success of 1987, and went on to win nine Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay, as well as a slew of technical awards for Art Direction, Cinematography, Editing, Costume Design, and Score. Read more…

SILK – Ryuichi Sakamoto

September 14, 2007 Leave a comment

Original Review by Clark Douglas

No less than nine years after winning acclaim for “The Red Violin”, director Francois Girard has finally returned to the world of cinema. His latest effort is “Silk”, based on the much-lauded book of the same name by Alessandro Barrico. The main character of the story is Herve Joncour (Michael Pitt), a French silkworm merchant traveling through Japan with his wife (Keira Knightly). While in Japan, the merchant falls in love with the mistress (Sei Ashina) of a fearsome Japanese overlord (Koji Yakusho). Of course, suspicions begin to arise on both sides and unsuspected plot elements begin to unfold. It’s a rather promising set-up, but most critics were quite underwhelmed by the story, saying it lacked passion and coherent plotting. Also, the lead performance of Michael Pitt was savaged by most, as many felt he lacked the emotional skills required to play such a role. Read more…