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|Index||38 reviews in total|
This movie is not for everyone. That being said, I loved it. It is
surreal, complex, and asks more questions than it answers. It evokes
than exposes, and creates a vivid imaginary world using only good acting,
editing, and camera technique. Although it may have been marketed as an
erotic thriller, it is actually a profoundly personal, emotional, and
psychological exploration of one woman's struggle for spiritual
Ellen Barkin is captivating as the enigmatic Claire, a woman desperately trying to uncover her past. This is, for her, a true tour de force.
The supporting cast reads like a celeb who's who, with Jodie Foster, Martin Sheen, Isabella Rosallini, Gabriel Byrne, Grace Jones, Julian Sands, and a surprisingly intense cameo by English comedian Alexi Sayle.
If that weren't enough, the soundtrack features original music by Miles Davis, some of the last work he recorded.
As I said, this film is not for everyone, but my mind returns to it again and again. It lingers in my memory and, for that, I am grateful.
Siesta is a most atmospheric film, almost dreamlike, you feel the Spanish heat while Ellen Barkin is stumbling through the pictures in confused despair. She wakes up lying on the roll way of an airport, not knowing where she is or how she got there. Her red dress is full of blood and she starts running... From there, an odyssey begins for her, with strongly impressive scenes of -not only sexual- passion. A bit confusing for the first time watching because of all the flashbacks, when you watch the film a second time you can really enjoy it. Many stunning actors, who appear to join Ellen without really helping her situation, only dragging her deeper in confusion. A surprising end, all of a sudden you begin to understand what happened to Ellen and why she lost her memory. This film left such a strong impression on me that i still recommend it to all of my friends and other movie fans.
This is an odd movie. In places there doesn't seem to be much of a plot, and many of the characters are....well, odd. Essentially, the story is about Ellen Barkin's character, Claire, attempting to get to an airport in Spain in time to return to the US for a daredevil stunt she's supposed to perform. Why the hurry? Well, she came to Spain to look up an old boyfriend.... I don't want to give too much away. Claire's attempts to get to the airport run into obstacles...peculiar obstacles. In places the movie has the same frustrating feel to it as a dream in which one continually tries to do something, but somehow nothing quite works out. There's a supporting cast with some big names in it, but just keep your eyes on Ellen Barkin, as those other characters come and go. There's an interesting use of mythology in the movie, but I'm not entirely certain that it was deliberate. In places the pacing seems a bit slow, but overall I think it's very watchable
I watched this movie again recently after not seeing it for about 10 years,
and it's held up very well. I remember after seeing it the first time, that
I kept saying to myself, "What?", but upon seeing it a couple more times, I
figured it out.
Overall pretty good, kind of a mind-bending mild thriller. It looks as if the director trimmed out some of the original movie that might have helped fill in a gap or two here.
Nonetheless, it is an interesting film with good acting, particularly with Ellen Barkin. Interesting supporting cast, too, that includes Julian Sands, Isabella Rossellini, Jodie Foster and Grace Jones.
7 out of 10. My favorite dialogue in the film: "I'm your guardian angel", to which the response is, "I'm almost tempted to believe you."
Claire "On a Dare" wakes up by an airport runway wearing a red dress.
She's dirty and bruised. She has no idea where she is or how she got
there, or even what day it is, but she does remember who she is and
retains most of her memories. She strips off her dress by a creek to
wash off it and herself what seems to be blood, and sunbathes nude to
dry off - sustained full-frontal nudity within the first two minutes of
the movie, jeepers!
I'm reminded of a line from the novel The Screaming Mimi by Frederic Brown, "There's murder before the story proper starts, and murder after it ends; the actual story begins with a naked woman and ends with one, which is a good opening and a good ending, but everything between isn't nice."
Claire, finding the blood washes off her thinks someone else must be dead. Discovering and remembering that she is in Spain, she thinks she may have killed her ex-lover Augustine, or his new wife.
Claire had been due to skydive without a parachute into a dormant (or artificial?) volcano covered with a net to catch her, that will be on fire. If she misses the net, or hits it after it has burned too much, she's dead in Death Valley. Receiving a letter from her ex-lover who doesn't want her to do the stunt, she flies to Spain to try to get him to return to her, despite her having been married to her promoter for six years or so.
Claire has some strange adventures, sometimes pretty horrible. A fat taxi driver with tin dentures offers to help, but his price is sex, or rape. An eccentric brawling artist tries to help her, and doesn't seem to have any motive other than "the good you give out is returned to you."
Sprinkled throughout are shots of Claire skydiving; like Roger Ebert, I couldn't tell if this was "fantasy [...] memory, or anticipation" not that it makes much difference. Throughout "falling" gets mentioned a lot in other ways. Claire, in a Catholic church says she feels like she is falling, the artist talks about how the only kind of falling that isn't failing is falling in love, etc.
One thing the title seems to refer to is a siesta Claire's ex-lover takes in a small building near a church, where they perhaps used to have sex.
Bruce Joel Rubin wrote a screenplay in the 1970s that was considered one of the best unproduceable scripts. This movie seems in a way an attempt to make it, though it is based on a novel. This movie didn't really do it for me, and perhaps time would be better spent reading the novel. Rubin's screenplay was produced a few years after this movie, and turned out quite well.
Not to everyone's taste I appreciate, but whilst it is undeniably flawed, I always enjoy watching this movie. Ellen Barkin is at her sexy peak, Gabriel Byrne smoulders confidently and if Isabella Rossellini is a little underused, Julian Sands turns in one of his really quirky performances that leaves you open mouthed and smiling, if that's possible. I feel Martin Sheen is a little out of control and Grace Jones barely there but Jodie Foster really lets her hair down and Alexi Sayle has the time of his life and gives the film some edge. Clearly director Lambert is happier with rock videos but she has a keen visual eye and I just think this has enough to keep anyone amused/excited as long as you don't take it too seriously. Fun.
This is a wacky, extreme, insane movie. When she isn't stalking around
in a black leather jacket emblazoned with a bald eagle, Barkin is
running madly through Spanish streets in a flaming red dress. She wants
to sleep with Gabriel Byrne (who doesn't?), who's married to Isabella
Rosselini, who wields a knife, while Julian Sands lowers his trousers
for Jodie Foster, who kisses Ellen Barkin on the lips. There isn't much
sensuality, but there are countless tragically, monumentally bad lines.
This is a masterpiece of bad taste, kitsch, bad accents, etc. And
Barkin is often naked, putting it in five star territory.
Did Ellen Barkin kill someone? Was Jodie Foster cloned from Myrna Loy? Who is the most beautiful man alive, Byrne or Sands? These and ten more profound questions are posed over the course of Mary Lambert's "Siesta."
Mary Lambert's "Siesta" offers plenty of wonderful visuals and a nice amount of sensual atmosphere.A woman in a red dress lies in an airport field,supposedly dead.She wakes.There's blood on her dress,but it doesn't seem to be hers.She can't remember the last few days.As time goes on,the pieces come back to her,and she meets up with some pretty weird people.The plot of "Siesta" is quite confusing and the climax is unpredictable.The acting is alright with Ellen Barkin's excellent performance to boost.Barkin has also some amazing nude scenes,so I wasn't disappointed.Give this one a look.A perfect film to analyze,if you have enough time to waste!
I stumbled across this on late night TV part way through and was soon
mesmerized, likely because when Miles plays a note, I can't move. I
couldn't figure out what it was about, which probably added to the
appeal, given the hypnotic nature of the music. Throw in three of my
'favorite girls' i.e. Isabella, Ellen and Jodie, and I was hooked.
Marcus is channeling Sketches of Spain, and it was wonderful to hear
Miles in that milieu once again. I highly recommend this movie despite
the low rating of circa 5 out of ten that you see on the site here.
Perhaps the key is to dispense with any expectations of what a movie
should be, fundamentally. If nothing else, just revel in the music !!
(...and the cute ladies...)
(additional comments a year later) I have to admit I must be somewhat obsessed with this project. Perhaps re: Miles/Spain. And Marcus Miller has great taste. And is that Bennie Maupin/bass clarinet? But what gets me in addition upon further viewing is the editing. And you have to give credit for personnel decisions. If this is Lambert then she certainly must have some kind of special nose for creative intelligence.
'Siesta' is one of the most underrated film of the 80's. I can
understand why some people hate it, but I would urge everyone to see
it, because if you do and like it, you will end up loving it. It has
stayed in my head for over 10 years from just 3 viewings and truly is
an experience and if anybody works out the true meaning of the film,
please fill me in.
Alongside the film you also get a truly exceptional soundtrack from Miles Davis no less. I bought the cassette the same time I saw the film and continue to play it.
The minute anyone hears of this coming out on DVD, please tell me and I would like two questions to be answered
1. Why does Ellen Barkin not work more? she is a fantastic actress
2. How did Mary Lambert end up directing so many bad films after this?
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