1661: Cardinal Mazarin dies. In the power vacuum, the young Louis asserts his intention to govern as well as rule. Mazarin's fiscal advisor, Colbert, warns against Fouquet, the Surintendant... See full summary »
The film dramatizes about a dozen vignettes from the life of St. Francis and his early followers - starting with their return in the rain to Rivotorlo from Rome when the Pope blessed their ... See full summary »
Anna, a detached and diffident director, arrives in Germany to show her latest film; she checks into a hotel, invites a stranger to her bed, and abruptly tells him to leave. He asks her to ... See full summary »
This biography tells the life story of Augustine, the Bishop of Hippo, a North African region during the last years of the Roman Empire. The film details Augustine's struggle to maintain ... See full summary »
Irene Girard is an ambassador's wife and used to living in luxury. After the dramatic death of her son, she feels guilty of having neglected him and feels compelled to help people in need ... See full summary »
Hotel Monterey is a cheap hotel in New York reserved for the outcasts of American society. Chantal Akerman invites viewers to visit this unusual place as wall as the people who live there, from the reception up to the last story.
An earlier (the sole, in fact) reviewer of this series suggested that one should approach this 3-part series as an illustrated text rather than a film. S/He was so right! I would speculate that most people should pass on buying this set. Yes, Rosellini's costumes and sets are wonderful. Nearly every frame would make a frame-able painting. And the the daily life details -- the wet horse-dung in the streets, the general filthy conditions of the period, the exquisite artisan-ship of garments for the wealthy -- are sublime.
But this series is filled wall-to-wall with dense, rapid dialog in Italian. It's nearly impossible to follow with English subtitles. And the characters just start to blend into a smear by the end of the first episode. There is virtually nothing to break the series out of its yak-yak-yak drone, historically significant though it may be.
I think even Italians will have a great challenge to remain conscious for this series.
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