A mute woman along with her young daughter, and her prized piano, are sent to 1850s New Zealand for an arranged marriage to a wealthy landowner, and she's soon lusted after by a local worker on the plantation.
Wessex County, England during the Victorian era. Christian values dominate what are social mores. These mores and her interactions with two men play a large part in what happens in the young life of peasant girl, the shy, innocent, proper yet proud Tess Durbeyfield. The first of these men is Alec d'Urberville. After learning from a local historian that they are really descendants of the aristocratic d'Urberville family which has died out due to lack of male heirs, Tess' parents send her to a nearby mansion where they know some d'Urbervilles actually reside. This move is in order for the family to gain some benefit from their heritage. Upon her arrival at the mansion, Tess quickly learns that the family of Tess' "cousin" Alec are not true d'Urbervilles, but rather an opportunistic lot who bought the family name in order to improve their own standing in life. Tess is pulled between what she was sent to accomplish for her family against her general disdain for Alec, who will give her ... Written by
Director of Photography Geoffrey Unsworth died of a heart attack during the third week of shooting at the end of October 1978. Most of the film's scenes shot by him were exteriors in the first half of the movie and can be noticed by some fog and slight diffusion. Ghislain Cloquet shot the second half and the remaining of the movie with most of his scenes in interiors with no diffusion. Rumor has that among the scenes shot by Unsworth before his death were:
1) The foggy day-to-night seduction in the woods
2) The tent and the strawberries when Tess is in the D'Uberville mansion.
Tess of the d'Urbervilles: A Pure Woman Faithfully Presented
Roman Polanski's film Tess, (1979) adaptation of Thomas Hardy famous novel of the 19th century "Tess of the D'Urbervilles" , won many prestigious awards, including three Oscars of six nominations and every award for Best Cinematography it was nominated for. If any film deserves recognition for its beautiful, lyrical, sensual yet melancholic and poetic visual presentation, "Tess" is it. The movie might be Roman Polanski's finest achievement, and this statement comes from a viewer who is in love with all Polanski's films starting with his debut "Knife in the Water". "Tess" is one of the best adaptations of the classic novel I've seen and it lives, breathes and moves freely. It never rushes to tell its long story but tells it with rare finesse, compassion, and love for the heroine, a gentle creature who had been insulted, humiliated, and ultimately destroyed.
The success of the movie starts with the choice of the actress for the title role. Tess as played by 20 years old Nasstassia Kisnki is beautiful, sensual, shy and full of life and hope for love. The life of Tess unfolds in front of us from her teenage years as an innocent country girl until the powerfully tragic final scene at the magnificent Stonehenge. The film is almost three hours long but I never was bored, on the contrary, I felt compassion for the girl and anger toward the men that used and corrupted her, ruined her hopes for love and happiness, and toward the society that mercifully discarded of her. Tess is one of the best movies I've seen. It is stunning, subtle, emotional, tragic, and unforgettable.
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