HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
American Fiction
Poor Things
Thunderclap
Zeiram
Legend of the Bat
Party Line
Night Fright
Pacha, Le
Kimi
Assemble Insert
Venus Tear Diamond, The
Promare
Beauty's Evil Roses, The
Free Guy
Huck and Tom's Mississippi Adventure
Rejuvenator, The
Who Fears the Devil?
Guignolo, Le
Batman, The
Land of Many Perfumes
Cat vs. Rat
Tom & Jerry: The Movie
Naked Violence
Joyeuses Pacques
Strangeness, The
How I Became a Superhero
Golden Nun
Incident at Phantom Hill
Winterhawk
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City
Maigret Sets a Trap
B.N.A.
Hell's Wind Staff, The
Topo Gigio and the Missile War
Battant, Le
Penguin Highway
Cazadore de Demonios
Snatchers
Imperial Swordsman
Foxtrap
   
 
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
   
 
  Unbearable Lightness of Being, The Tanks For The Memory
Year: 1988
Director: Philip Kaufman
Stars: Daniel Day-Lewis, Juliette Binoche, Lena Olin, Derek de Lint, Erland Josephson, Stellan Skarsgård, Donald Moffat
Genre: Drama, Sex, RomanceBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 3 votes)
Review: It's 1968 in the city of Prague, and revolution is in the air. Young doctor Tomas (Daniel Day-Lewis) is an enthusiastic womaniser, and when he visits a spa to perform an operation, he becomes romantically involved with Tereza (Juliette Binoche), a woman who works there. But events are catching up with them, and the as Soviets invade the lovers are forced to flee...

Philip Kaufman and Jean-Claude Carriere adapted Milan Kundera's supposedly unfilmable novel into a handsome, despondent tale of love, sex and oppression (both political and personal). If you haven't read the book, you may feel at something of a disadvantage, because you get the sense of something missing from this version: an emotional connection, perhaps. And as it draws on, you realise it's one of those films where, whenever people are shown having a good time, things will soon go horribly wrong for them.

Binoche impresses as Tereza, starting out sensitive and naive, then ending up heading for a breakdown as she can't cope with either her husband's infidelity or the depressing situation she finds herself in. The most interesting character is Sabina, an earthy, wise and playful artist who is Tomas' long term lover (attractively portrayed by Lena Olin, even if that bowler hat doesn't really suit her). On the other hand, Day-Lewis is presumably supposed to come across as a smouldering, charming rogue - instead he is more like a smug git, totally undeserving of the attentions of all those women, which is a problem the film never resolves.

The Unbearable Lightness of Being, as the name suggests, is more at home with the miserable aspects of its story. There is the question of sex without love being a less satisfying experience than sex with love, and that's certainly true for Tereza, if Tomas is not entirely convinced. Despite the setting of the late sixties, the self-expression of sexual freedom is born less from any spirit of the times, and more from the personalities of the main characters - their sexual adventures are supposed to set them free from the, er, "heavier" concerns of life.

Hanging over those characters like a shadow is always the iron fist of the Soviet authorities. Although photgrapher Tereza wants to be politically aware, Tomas and Sabina are happy not to bother with such things until they can't ignore them anymore. The sequence where the Russian tanks rumble menacingly into Prague is a highlight, with use of black and white and faded colour to recreate a newsreel look.

Unfortunately for him, Tomas has previously written an anti-Communist article, which only appears to be a plot device to get the secret police after him when he follows Tereza back home (she can't cope with the freedom of living in Geneva or being married to Tomas). And after the couple attain some measure of contentment, the out-of-nowhere "shock" ending feels like a cheat, only added to sustain the depressing atmosphere once the film is over. Three hours is a long time to stay with all this for an ending like that.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 8787 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Philip Kaufman  (1936 - )

Level-headed American writer and director who doesn't shy away from challenging material; after award-winning debut Goldstein, he offered superhero spoof Fearless Frank, but it was five years until his movie career really got off the ground. The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid was followed by The White Dawn and the script for The Outlaw Josey Wales, and a remake of Invasion of the Bodysnatchers was his first big hit. Then came The Wanderers, The Right Stuff, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, the controversial Henry & June, Rising Sun, Marquis de Sade drama Quills and thriller Twisted. He also contributed to the story of Raiders of the Lost Ark; considering his talent, it's surprising how few films he has directed.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Enoch Sneed
  Louise Hackett
Darren Jones
Mark Le Surf-hall
Andrew Pragasam
Mary Sibley
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: