|THE UNAPPROACHABLE (DIE UNERREICHBARE) (TV) (director/writer: Krzysztof Zanussi; screenwriter: Edward Zebrowski; cinematographer: Slawomir Idziak; editors: Karin Nowarra/Inge Gehren; music: Wojciech Kilar; cast: Leslie Caron (Claudia), Danny Webb (Marek), Leslie Malton (Marianne); Runtime: 92; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Wolfgang Patschke/Regina Ziegler; MGM/UA Home Video; 1982-West Germany/Poland-in English)|
by Dennis Schwartz
in English, in West Germany, for German television.
Polish filmmaker Krzysztof Zanussi ("Contract"/"Family
Life"/"Camouflage") directs and co-writes with Edward
Zebrowski this provocative misfire. The schematic
drama feels creepy and also fails to register as a
compelling drawing room comedy, as its awkward
dialogue seems stage-like and its theme about what's
real and what's fake resonates as inane.
The wealthy aging former actress Claudia (Leslie Caron) lives as an embittered recluse in a gated mansion in a posh Berlin suburban neighborhood in West Germany. Her housekeeper Marianne (Leslie Malton) is off the day a man claiming to be hurt when mugged connives his way into her home and is confronted by the leery Claudia, who soon establishes his wounds are not real and gets him to reveal that he is a university student studying art history who wants to take photographs of the Canaletto painting from the Venetian period in the star's collection.
play a talky (and the talk is ever so stilted,
pretentious and dull) cat and mouse game in taking
turns in who is the seducer and who is the one being
seduced, as the handsome and well-spoken lad is
eventually revealed as Marianne's boyfriend
Marek (Daniel Webb). Even when Claudia realizes he's a
scoundrel and they finally leave the drawing room and
go upstairs to her bedroom for sex, they still can't
stop talking and it sounds as if they are in a play
that will soon close because of bad reviews.
a cold film, which has nothing worthwhile to say about
the games women and men play when they have no clue
what they are after in life. But at least Caron looks
good despite being up there in years and she shows
that she can still command the screen as an actress.
REVIEWED ON 1/27/2014 GRADE: C
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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