Vince Leo said this:
“An orphaned young woman named Mary travels to Cornwall to stay with her aunt and uncle in a place called the Jamaica Inn. The downside to this is the fact that the inn is the lair of treacherous and murderous land-pirates, who lure ships in and proceed to kill the ship’s crews and steal everything on board. After discovering the truth, she and one of the pirates who is secretly a police officer, go to the local peace officer for help, little realizing that he is the kingpin for the whole operation. Now their lives are in jeopardy due to the fact that no one can be trusted, and they must fight for their lives.” Continue reading
It is May 1520 in the vast Aztec Empire one year after the Spanish Conqueror Hernán Cortés’ arrival in Mexico. “The Other Conquest” opens with the infamous massacre of the Aztecs at the Great Temple of Tenochtitlan. The sacred grounds are covered with the countless bodies of priests and nobility slaughtered by the Spanish Armies under Cortés’ command. The lone Aztec survivor of the massacre is a young Indian scribe named Topiltzin Topiltzin, who is the illegitimate son of the Aztec Emperor Moctezuma, survives the onslaught by burying himself under a stack of bodies. As if awakening from a dream, the young man rises from among the dead to find his mother murdered, the Spanish in power and the dawn of a new era in his native land. A New World with new leaders, language, customs… and God. Continue reading
Plot Synopsis by Gönül Dönmez-Colin
Following the success of Hamam, Turkey-born, Italy-based Ferzan Ozpetek delivers another exotic film that delves into the traditions of his origin. Once again, the exotic city of Istanbul is the place of intrigue. But, unlike Hamam, which was a contemporary story, Harem Suare takes place at the turn of the century in the last days of the Ottoman Empire. The locale of this ornate story of love, power, and fear is the magnificent Yildiz Palace, where Sultan Abdulhamit whiles away the time listening to the finale of La Traviata as rebellions rage all over the country. The Sultan cannot stand unhappy endings, so he has asked Safiye, his favorite concubine, who is Italian, to rewrite the libretto so that Violetta does not die. Nadir, one of the black eunuchs, has plans for Safiye, whom he thinks should become the official wife. Nadir’s plans take a different turn when he and Safiye fall in love. In the harem, which is isolated from the rest of the world, life goes on with its plots and subplots, loyalties and betrayals, happiness and tragedies as if time did not exist. The story is told from the point of view of Safiye, concentrating more on human relations than on palace politics. The director plays with mirror images to reflect the two faces of personalities and the complexities of intercultural relations. Mythology is blended with sexuality, emphasizing the delicate nuances of language. The exotic element is not abused and historical details are used sparingly and only when necessary. Acting by young French actress Marie Gillain, who plays Safiye, and Lucia Bose, who plays her in old age, as well as Alex Descas as the eunuch Nadir and famous Turkish actor Haluk Bilginer as Sultan Abdulhamid are all commendable. 52nd Cannes Film Festival, 1999. Continue reading
The sympathetically drawn, unthreatening gay characters here are practically an advertisement for this hot political topic. Abroad, the film’s biggest selling point, as with “Steam: The Turkish Bath” and “Ignorant Fairies,” is its relaxed, modern approach to gay characters and lifestyle, unusual for an Italian film. The mix of straight and gay stories, though, should broaden its appeal to a slightly wider niche. Continue reading
Written by Boyd van Hoeij
Thursday, 20 April 2006
Nothing less than a double suicide from a dazzling height initiates the fifth and by far best film of Italo-Turkish director Ferzan Ozpetek. With an equally dazzling central performance by another foreigner settled in Italy, Slovakian actress Barbora Bobulova, Cuore sacro (Sacred Heart) could very well win Ozpetek new fans at home and abroad as he forsakes his overly sentimental style for something both more subtle and more resonant.
Co-written and directed by Ozpetek, Cuore sacro is an exploration of goodness and religion and how they interact (and more often than not fail to interact) in Italian society in particular and the world at large. Unlike the director’s previous efforts (such as much laurelled La finestra di fronte/Facing window) there are no homosexual or otherwise marginalised or penniless protagonists; in Cuore sacro it is in fact fundamental that the main character is rich, at least at the start of the story.
Giovanna is a bookeeper in a company which packs chickens. She is married to a man who has a precarious job. First she starts being curious about a young man who lives in the block opposite hers, and then she falls in love with him. The relationship between the two becomes much stronger when she starts to find out more about him from an old man who bursts into their lives. The old man, obsessed with the memories of some things that happened n the long past autumn of 1943, has lost his memory and finds refuge in Giovanna.
“Facing Windows (La Finestra di fronte)” is like a very European and more sophisticated take on “The Notebook,” as it shifts between romantic and culinary past and present through the in-and-out consciousness of an elderly man. The “Rear Window” eroticism is just one element that accidentally brings together tangled, stymied lives swirling around lovely, exhausted, frustrated chef, wife and mother Giovanna Mezzogiorno, where each child, man, woman, friend and neighbor has separate priorities and fantasies that annoying real life interferes with, from the practical to the political. Continue reading
Tommaso (Riccardo Scamarcio, Eden Is West) has a comfortable life in Rome as an aspiring writer and a steady relationship with his boyfriend Marco—a life he has kept secret from his family. So when he’s called back to his hometown of Lecce in Italy’s deep south to help run the family pasta business, he decides to finally reveal his homosexuality to his conservative family and hopefully get out of his business obligations in the process. But when his plans are thwarted by his brother, Tommaso gets stuck on the path that he was desperately trying to avoid. Continue reading