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Anyone who appreciates the work of Florinda Bolkan should not miss this rare film, the version I saw being titled "Brainwashed". Ms. Bolkan plays the spouse of a man (Omar Sharif) who has been imprisoned on a remote island by a repressive French government due to the fact that this man has expressed political beliefs contrary to that of the regime in power. Bolkan's character, day after day, fills out the paperwork in a large, impersonal government office trying to get a pass to get into the prison and visit him for one hour. After years of this daily routine (and about one hour of the film's running time), she is finally granted the permit, and in a very touching scene, prepares to make herself as beautiful as possible for the visit. Unfortunately, as is usually the case in films like this, the visit is a disaster for all involved.
This interesting film is 95% Florinda Bolkan and nothing else -- cast mate Omar Sharif is also very good in his part, but his screen time is quite limited when compared to Bolkan's. Since she fills nearly every frame of the film, it is up to her to carry it, and she does so brilliantly. Her performance is truly moving and poignant, and when watching films like this it becomes more apparent that it is a shame that she is not better known in the United States. Obviously, this is not a "feel good" film; it is bitter and uncompromising, so if you are prepared for it, you will be able to have a satisfying viewing experience.
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