Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Marie Gillain, Alex Descas, Lucia Bosé, Valeria Golino, Malick Bowens
Director: Ferzan Ozpetek
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Studio: Strand Releasing Release Date: 04/06/2006
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D. Klevorn | San Antonio, TX | 04/16/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I own the VHS of this movie, and can tell you it is based on fact. What a tragic tale told so wonderfully. It has been said there is a lot of nudity, but truly not as much as one could expect. This film really does give the viewer a trip into the royal Turkish harem at the end of the Empire! You won't be disappointed."
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Most of the story is set in the Sultan's multi-ethnic harem in the last days of the Ottoman Empire. It is fascinating, "lush" historical drama and story-telling, beautifully acted. The film also raises interesting questions about memory and the telling of stories. Because of the way the story is told, with flashbacks within flashbacks, I had to watch it more than once to figure out what was going on, but I enjoyed each viewing immensely. Also, if you watch Ozpetek's "Steam Bath" ("Hamam"), which is set in modern-day Istanbul, you will see an understated link to this story. (...)"
Good setting and intrigue. Too bad the DVD was faulty.
Linda Linguvic | New York City | 03/05/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This 1999 film in Turkish, Italian and French seemed interesting. It's set in 1908 during the fall of the Ottoman Empire and depicts one of the last harems. It's also a story of intrigue and romance. Some of it was quite interesting, especially the depictions of the daily life of the women. The acting was good and the mood was set just right, the cinematography showing the opulence of the palace as well as its restrictions.
Something was wrong with the screenplay however. My guess is that too much was left on the cutting room floor. As per the cover of the DVD, it was supposed to last 1 hour and 45 minutes. However, the disc I viewed was only about 1 hour and 15 minutes. It was hard to figure out exactly what was happening and the story didn't fit together at all. There were flashbacks and flash forwards held together by a tale told by a servant which seemed to foretell the future. And the ending left a lot of questions unanswered.
Therefore, although there were some parts of this film that were good, and it might have been better when it was playing in the theaters, I just cannot recommend this DVD."
Cindy Luk | Hong Kong | 07/08/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)
"The setup of the movie sounds great. Lush historical drama set in the final days of the Ottoman Empire. Innovative way of story telling, a bit like the magical realism of novels. The story of Safiye is told by 2 voices: 1)by her maid servant to other royal concubines in the harem square as if it's a legend. 2)by herself as an old woman to an young woman whom she met at a train station in Italy. This seems to me hints that Safiye's story isn't that unique afterall. She's just the latest heroin living thru the life of a harem concubine.
While the story has great promises, it's very badly executed. The pace is ultra slow. Yes, this is not an action movie. It's just the movie often feels stalled. Dialogue seems forced. Poison? that's pretty lame as palace intrigue, isn't it? Romance with an eunuch? Wow, how surprising. Like there's any other man around... Turkish bath scenes seem to drag on and on. After a while, it doesn't serve any dramatic purpose except pandering to those after some exoticism. Worst of all is that acting is not convincing at all.
Bottom line: 1 star for the storyline and 1 more for the costume."