EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|THE ABYSS (L'OEVRE AU NOIR) (director/writer: Andre Delvaux; screenwriter: based on the novel by Marguerite Yourcenar; cinematographer: Charles Van Damme; editors: Albert Jurgenson/Jean-Pierre Resnard/Nadine Muse; music: Frédéric Devreese; cast: Sami Frey (Prior des Cordeliers), Anna Karina (Catherine), Gian Maria Volonté (Zénon Ligre/Sebastian Theus), Jacques Lippe (Myers), Philippe Léotard (Henri-Maximilien), Jean Bouise (Campanus), Marie-France Pisier (Martha), Mathieu Carrière (Pierre de Hamaere), Pierre Dherte (Cyprien), Senne Rouffaer (Le Cocq, prosecutor); Runtime: 110; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Jean-Claude Batz/Philippe Dussart; Cinematek-PAL format; 1988-France/Belgium-in French with English subtitles)|
|"It's a solid film, but I
expect more from the great Delvaux."
by Dennis Schwartz
final film of the acclaimed Belgian filmmaker Andre
Delvaux ("Benvenuta"/"Belle"/"Woman Between
Wolf and Dog") is his biggest budgeted film.
Unfortunately it is stodgily directed. Delvaux's
16th-century historical film is based on the 1976
novel by Marguerite
Yourcenar. Though intelligently presented, well-acted
by the entire cast and especially by star Gian Maria Volonté, and
stylishly photographed by Charles Van
Damme, nevertheless the brooding dramatization lacks
energy and is uninvolving.
It's set in Flanders,
mid-sixteenth century. The
doctor, traveling under the name of
Sebastian Theus (Gian Maria Volonté), whose real name is
Zenon Ligre, returns by coach unrecognized to his
Bruges birthplace and bunks down with his old
doctor colleague Myers (Jacques Lippe). After wandering the
last 20 years throughout Europe, Zenon went
on-the-run to avoid the death sentence of the
Spanish Inquisition for his radical writings,
heretical medical practices and his bisexuality.
But the true radical
can't help expressing his beliefs and is
eventually arrested and executed while curing the
sick in the monastery run by the kind-hearted
Prior of Cordeliers (Sami
It's a solid film, but I expect more from the great Delvaux.
REVIEWED ON 6/23/2013 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ