Character actor Michael Shannon has been nominated for his second Oscar for his role in the 2016 thriller Nocturnal Animals. "No Small Parts" takes a look at some of the other characters he's played in the past.
Irene is a magazine editor living under the shadow of the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile. Francisco is a handsome photographer and he comes to Irene for a job. As a sympathizer with the ... See full summary »
When the drifter Harry Madox reaches a small town in Texas, he gets a job as used car salesman with the dealer George Harshaw and settles down in a hotel room. During a fire, Harry observes... See full summary »
Josie, the daughter of the town's wealthiest businessman, faces problems at home and wishes to leave home, but is disorientated. Her decision is finalized after she falls asleep in a Target... See full summary »
Michael, a college student, visits his girlfriend Gabriella and her family for Christmas in Canada. When he gets there, she tells him that she doesn't love him any more. Meanwhile, her ... See full summary »
David Leader investigates a seemingly senseless murder, and in the course of it is drawn into the labyrinth of a sinisterly unique wealthy family. The family seems to revolve around its own... See full summary »
26 year old Silvia has it all, but is still discontent, and daydreams about BDSM sex. When her husband is away on a business trip, she goes to a castle outside Rome to work as a secretary. Here she is turned into a slave.
Thanks to a poor script and the woeful direction of Peter Del Monte, ETOILE was a flop in 1988, never released (to this day) in the U.S. despite being filmed in English with American leading actors. Suddenly it takes on new interest as a direct forerunner of the current hit BLACK SWAN.
Jennifer Connelly, who gives a glazed performance especially compared with the all-stops-out tour de force of Natalie Portman, plays an American ballerina named Claire traveling to Budapest to further her career. She is possessed by the spirit of a ballerina from 1891 who danced her final performance there in "Swan Lake".
A chilling early scene has Claire receiving a bouquet of black flowers with a note: "Welcome back Natalie". This refers to the 1891 ballerina named Natalie Horvath, but today gives off an eerie note with the coincidence of actress Portman's first name some 22 years later in such a similar role.
Both films deal with loss of identity, but ETOILE adopts a very cornball Gothic romance style which falls flat. In fact everything about the film is flat except Connelly's torso (see her in CAREER OPPORTUNITIES made a couple of years later and you'll see what I mean). The romantic male lead Gary McCleery (whose career went nowhere) is terrible - a blank space on the screen, and an endless subplot concerning his uncle, played hammily by Charles Durning, obsessed with buying rare clocks, merely kills time.
The ballet master was well-cast with Laurent Terzieff, a wonderful, creepy looking French actor, better casting than Vincent Cassel in the new film, but unfortunately Terzieff has little to do. Similarly, scarily beautiful Olimpia Carlisi is wasted as an evil black queen figure.
In the '80s I watched all of Del Monte's films that were in fact imported to America -watching them in 35mm I can give a fair appraisal. SWEET PEA was merely cute, I greatly enjoyed INVITATION AU VOYAGE (which was an art-house flop here when released by Columbia's Triumph Films subsidiary), and JULIA & JULIA was a disaster, a millstone on Kathleen Turner's otherwise booming career at the time. With ETOILE Del Monte comes off as just another hack.
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