Friday, July 20, 2012

Tess (1979) - Romance

After I saw Michael Winterbottom’s latest (Trishna) and wasn’t too happy with the way story of "Tess of the d'Urbervilles": A Pure Woman Faithfully Presented” written by Thomas Hardy in 1891, I had to see Roman Polanski’s version of the same book “Tess (1979)”. As expected Polanski’s version was way too good than Winterbottom’s for sure, because it was stretched at least in a couple of years (may be around 10 years) whereas the original story goes for around 30 years or so which I guess was impossible to be made into one movie. Still, this one is almost as long as three hours but told in a damn good way. Since I saw “Trishna” last week – it did help me big time in understanding the story a good second time and I could see the sea of change that had taken place in the way they showed it to us in today’s time. This was no doubt a visual treat to say the least; some scenes captured my attention big time and were shot in too good a manner. A wonderful piece of cinema by one of my favorite Directors and a must watch for all Romance / Drama lovers.

The Movie: Even this one didn’t do full justice to the novel but as I said earlier – it would be quite a task to put that mammoth story into one movie for sure. The length of this movie says the same – it’s almost as long as 165 minutes and still by the time it ends – you keep asking for more. Tess is the story of a young strong willed girl from a peasant family, whose family thinks that they have a connection with some aristocratic family. Her father sends her to seek a job with the same family of “Urbervilles” who they think they belong to. Her cousin immediately falls in love with her, right after he confirms her into a job in one of his poultry farms in the mansion and ends up raping her. She leaves the house, goes back to her family, her baby dies too and her family is again in tatters. Years go by – again she gets into a job in a milk farm, falls in love with a nice guy. Unfortunately she hides her past with him till they get married and once she tells him after the marriage – the guy rejects and leaves her alone. She has no other option but to go back to her cousin as a mistress so she could fend for her family. Again after a couple of years her husband comes back realizing his mistake, finds her but by that time its too late for Tess to go back to him. She sends him back and tells him to never return to her, later she realizes her mistake and does something drastic to go back to him. What she does? Will they unite again? You’ve got to see the movie or read the story to know the rest.

Beautiful Nastassja Kinski
Characters and Scenes: Tess is played by beautiful Nastassja Kinski, she is simply superb and too good in the role. She was one of the reasons why I was hooked to the movie big time, I could seriously not take my eyes off screen as long as she stayed on screen – such is her beauty. Her husband Angel is Peter Firth, lovable character – you simply fall in love with his simplicity and sympathize with his situation throughout. Leigh Lawson as cunning Alec (Cousin) is perfect; you hate him but love him as a strong character. Although the movie was made in 1979 – yet there were some scenes which captured my attention big time. One of the outstanding scenes was of the horse carriage Alec rides – it’s fantastic to see the way he rides it with Tess on board and the speed that they go in, simply superb, awesome camera work, you see the shot at least 3-4 times with different angles, sometimes from the back and sometimes from the front. Check it out – you will totally love it. Then there is this scene of Tess capturing a bird (A cock) in the poultry farm. Another scene showing the use of some kind of tractor to cut the crops from the farm, I was shocked to see that device which was cutting the whole thing with such an ease, indeed one of my favorite scenes of the movie, I almost saw it a couple of times to see how that machine worked. Other than these there is one damn good scene of a train pulled by an steam engine – trust me – it’s such a damn good and breathtaking shot that I simply cannot put it in words here, Mind-blowing use of moving camera and the way the whole train scene is captured. Not to forget some outstanding countryside sceneries too. All in all this was a better and superb watch in comparison to “Trishna”. If you have seen that – you’ve got to see this too.


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