From the acclaimed director of WHAT DREAMS MAY COME, MAP OF THE HUMAN HEART is a visually stunning love story that would last a lifetime! When a half-Eskimo boy named Avik (Jason Scott Lee -- DRAGON: THE BRUCE LEE STORY) l... more »eaves his Arctic home with a British mapmaker (Patrick Bergin -- BENEATH LOCH NESS) to seek medical attention in Canada, it marks the first steps in an epic personal journey. In Montreal Avik meets Albertine (Anne Parillaud -- LA FEMME NIKITA), a half-Indian girl with whom his life will be forever linked. Spanning decades and distance through war and adversity, their star-crossed relationship becomes a grand romantic adventure of never-ending intensity! Featuring a memorable appearance by big-screen favorite John Cusack (RUNAWAY JURY) -- you'll agree with critics everywhere who raved about this outstanding motion picture!« less
D. Roberts | Battle Creek, Michigan United States | 12/23/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"So far as I am concerned, this is one of the greatest movies that hardly anyone has ever seen. It is both emotionally poignant and visually beautiful.The film stars Jason Scott Lee. I have always admired him... This is the only movie that I can recall seeing him in where he does not do any martial arts / fighting scenes at all. Instead, all is focused on his remarkable acting abilities... Patrick Bergin also stars as a rather ambiguous character. During most of the movie, one is not quite sure what to think of him. His performance is top knotch.The film is set over about a 50 year time span (or so): WWI in northern Canada, WWII London and late 1960s northern Canada. The film depicts the story of a Canadian eskimo boy(later played by Lee) who is befriended by a RAF gentleman (Bergin). The boy grows up and becomes a bombadier in the RAF in WWII. Along the way, he falls in love with a mysterious Indian girl.The movie centers around the (to this day) controversial decision to bomb Dresden, Germany. By the time the option was selected to bomb this venerable city, the war was all but officially over. What made it so controversial was that 900 year old Dresden was not in any way, shape or form a military target. It contained (and still does) Germany's most valued treasures; her best opera houses, museums, art galleries and historical architecture. The lone reason for the bombing lay in the fact that the allies wanted to "teach Germany a lesson" for her audacity. The bombing caused a firestorm in the city which killed more people than the A-bombs of Nagasaki and Hiroshima combined. It is recommended that anyone who watches this movie also read Thomas Mann's "Dr. Faustus" alongside it. Dresden serves as a likely avatar for the Dresden "soul" which Mann's Faustus (the Nazis) sold to the German Mephistopheles (Hitler). Freeman Dyson's "Disturbing The Universe" and Kurt Vonnegut's "Slaughterhouse 5" would also be good reads in conjunction with this movie.This is one of the most lavish and emotionally powerful movies I have ever seen. I would say that it is every bit as pungent as "Saving Private Ryan," only in a different way. The acting, direction and soundtrack are all exquisite. A must see."
The DVD is finally here
Caraculiambro | La Mancha and environs | 06/08/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The five stars are for the movie, not necessarily the DVD, which, after an inexplicable wait, has finally arrived on shelves. I'll leave it to others to talk about the movie itself; I'll just make a few points about the DVD.
First of all, you should be aware that this is the European edit, not the American one, which for reasons unknown to me was not the version chosen for the DVD transfer. The American version runs about 109 minutes, the European PAL version about 5 minutes longer. There are a couple of scenes that until now only the Europeans could see (for example, after Walter tells Albertine, "I'd do anything for you," he takes her into the next room where he has secreted a horse into their apartment!). Now this is included. Another difference that will be immediately noticeable is that the voice of Avik and Albertine's daughter is no longer voiced over with that sweet and mellifluous voice, but is now the raucous and heavily accented voice of the actress you see: quite jarring if you've never heard it before. In addition, the European version was much more leisurely with the editing pace (such as during the interview between Avik's daughter and him on the snow: there are many extra lines now), with longer establishing shots, Avik nearly getting run over by a snowplow, etc., and this more relaxed pace has been preserved.
1. "Map of the Human Heart" was not filmed in 1.85:1 as I long thought, but full widescreen, 2.35:1, and provided your player is set up to play it, this DVD will play the full "dollar". This is not, however, the tremendous experience rabid fans of this movie might think it is, since I feel director Vincent Ward didn't really use that extra space off to the sides, so you haven't been missing much. As far as I know, ONLY widescreen is available, and no "fullscreen" version of this movie is even offered on DVD. The version you would purchase from this page (ASIN: B0001MDQ58) is letterbox, though Amazon doesn't make that clear.
2. The deleted scenes are interesting but frankly I understand why they wound up on the cutting room floor. There are only four included. I happen to know of a couple of other deleted scenes which were filmed but haven't made it on this disc: Avik in a POW-type convoy after Dresden, and Walter searching among the overturned tables and chairs for the missing Albertine (!) during the final dream sequence with the air balloon. However, I was dumbfounded at the urination sequence!
1. I was hoping that the subtitles would clarify some lines I've always wondered about, but instead they were poorly done -- evidently by somebody who was in a great hurry or who simply didn't care. Just a couple of irritating examples: When Avik bombs Dresden, the subtitles have him saying, "We are on target," instead of, "What have I done?" Or when Jeanne Moureau as the imperious nun rips the sheet off the two kids, the subtitles have her saying, "The worn skin only stands so much damage," instead of "The walls can only stand so much damage," referring to the kids' hijinks in a scene that didn't make the final cut. Subtitles are also available in Spanish (with the same errors), but not in any other language.
2. There is no commentary or any kind of interview with the director, Ward, or anybody else, such as Louis Nowra or Gabriel Yared. This was a disappointment, even though the quality of Ward's voiceover on the "What Dreams May Come" DVD is less than tremendous (he in fact reads most of it)."
A beautiful, haunting movie.
casualsuede | San Diego, CA USA | 09/12/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Being an ex-pat Canadian, I was sort of suspicious of this movie and wondered if it would capture the heart and soul of Northern Arctic Canada.After all, the director is from New Zealand and among the leads, there are two American's, One Irish, Two French people....Not a Canadian among them!However, my fears were put to rest in the opening 10 minutes of this movie....The main character is a boy named Avik, who is a half Inuit/Caucasian boy. He has no mother or father and is being raised by his grandmother who loves him dearly. He life is changed one day when a great bird lands in their tribal lands and produces a Cartographer named Walter Russell. The bird of course is a Plane and in 1931, no Inuit has ever seen this before and are naturally suspicious of it. However, Avik is not and this magnificent sight changes his life forever. Russell is staying with the Inuit tribe as he maps their region for world maps. However, he finds out that Avik develops Tuberculosis (the white man's disease) and take's him back to Montreal for treatment at a Catholic Hospital.There, he meets Albertine, who is half Indian/Caucasian and this similarity of being a "half-breed" draws them together. As their friendship blossoms deeper, they find out that they are "soulmates", sharing the perfect innocent love. However, Albertine, who can easily pass off as a White person is separated from Avik and sent away by Sister Banville (played with stern harshness by Jeanne Moreau). Avik, in his anguish, breaks into the X-ray room and steals an X-ray of Albertine's heart. That photograph represents the love that Albertine will show for the rest of the movie.7 years later Avik is back in the Arctic and things are not going well. The hunt is going poorly and many are blaming him because he had influence from White people. Again, another plane lands and Russell has returned. Avik helps him find a German submarine and Walter offers him a position a position in the Royal Canadian Army. Avik hearts leads him to go, but he is the only one who can support his Grandmother. So he refuses. He asks Walter to find Albertine and gives him the x-ray of her heart.Later, as conditions worsen for the tribe, they decide to travel north. While they take the grandmother, they refuse to take Avik. In a fit of anguish, the grandmother leaps from the ship and commits suicide. Separated from the tribe forever, Avik heads south and joins the Royal Air Command.In 1945, Avik is on his last mission as a recon photographer/bomber for the Royal Canadian Army. There he finds Albertine and reunites with her. She has a surprise for him. She has fallen in love with Walter. Crushed, he spurns her and rejects Walter. However, in a peace gesture, Walter gives him the X-ray and she reconciles with her. She has lived as a Caucasian and seeing Avik brings out the painful reminder that she is a "half-breed". However, as she learns to accept who she really is, she fall in love with Avik.This love breaks the triangle relationship that has formed between the three. Russell, who has much power in the Air Command, extends Aviks' plane's tour of duty as it becomes aware that he knows about their affair. And it is this extra mission, that the "Holy Boy" plane (a phrase Avik used as a child) get hit and only Avik survives. As he parachutes into Germany, his X-ray picture of Albertine's heart is destroyed. With his guilt (he feels responsible for the death of his shipmates) and his love for Albertine, he heads back to the Arctic to disappear from the world. Hence we come to the "present" 1965, where the whole movie was told as a flashback story from a now 40 something Avik to a young Cartographer (John Cusack). The conclusion of this movie is something that is very special and needs to be witnessed directly on film, so I will omit it from the review. This movie is beautiful to look at. Vincent Ward, who later directed the visually spectacular "What Dreams May Come" with Robin Williams, does a fantastic job capturing the mood and spirit of the far north and creates the most Stunning WWII coverage I have seen on celluloid (it is even better than Saving Private Ryan's footage). Avik, played by Jason Scott Lee is played well, but it is the emotionally wounded Albertine (played fabulously by Anne Parillaud) is the character to watch. While she is too old to play the part, she brings an emotional vulnerability to this role that suits the character perfectly. All the supporting characters (John Cusack, Patrick Bergen and Jeanne Moreau) and well as the young children have outstanding performances.If you want a movie with a daring vision, artistic flair and is overly romantic, please rent this movie. It has my highest recommendations....Rating: A"
Powerful Story of Culture Clash
Nanook | Alaska, USA | 10/27/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This movie is a strong illustration of not only love, courage, and a fab WWII movie, but also illustrates the cultural divide many First Nation and Native peoples go through. Dancing between 2 worlds that can't accept them in full. Avik's self-destruction is not only a symptom of the horrors of war, but also of identity. On the one hand, we see white people attempt to "normalize" him into white culture at the hospital. We also see him rejected at the oil town -- based on racism, not only because of his drinking issues, but because they can't buy a Native could ever be a WWII hero. On the other hand, we see his village reject him for being too white. We see him embrace the white culture when he has nothing left, but that culture does not fully accept him for who he is. THe love of his life tries to be as white as possible, to the point that she shuns all "half-breed" aspects of herself (Something he is as well) He leaves her, not only for fear of hurting her, but it also to allow her to lead her "white" life. His experience with the horrors of war drive him to shun the white culture, but yet he cannot be accepted into Unatak again. So he floats between two worlds, determined to drink himself into oblivion, which he does. Why does this all matter? Because he faces identity and cultural issues so many people face today. And many of them end up doing the same thing to themselves. Self-medication, as it were. A situation where a loss of identity, and cultural acceptance even overrides love. Many Natives identify with this movie, for illustrating the struggles they go through. A powerful testiment to social issues."
A romantic tale of life-long love
D. Movahedpour | CA United States | 12/23/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I found this to be one of the most romantic movies I've ever seen. It tells the story of Avik, a young Eskimo boy who meets Walter Russell (Patrick Bergin) when Walter comes to map his village. Avik discovers he has Tuberculosis, and Walter takes the young boy to Montreal where he stays at a Catholic hospital. There he meets Albertine, a young girl of mixed French Canadian and Indian blood. They grow attached to each other, in spite of the meddling of one of the nuns, played by Jeanne Moreau. Eventually, Avik and Albertine are separated. Avik returns to his village, and becomes a man. He finds he is ostracized by his fellow tribe, because he has lived too long among the white people.Avik as an adult is played by Jason Scott Lee. By this time, Canada is involved in World War II, and Avik joins the Air Force and flies on bombing raids. He is reunited with Albertine (Anne Parillaud) in London, who is also in the military. Unfortunately, so is Walter Russell. And it seems that he and Albertine have met and become romantically involved. Avik does not want to interfere in the relationship, because Walter saved his life.This is a story of two people who are truly in love, but whom the fates keep apart. An old theme, but with a new twist. I found it heart breaking and romantic. I loved the period portrayed. And the love scene atop the blimp is quite something! This film isn't for everyone, but if you like a good romantic tear jerker, this is for you."