Recounts the life and loves of the physician, astrologer, and famed prognosticator; his encounters with medieval science and the Inquisition; and his early struggles with his visions of the...
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Charles Martin Smith,
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Recounts the life and loves of the physician, astrologer, and famed prognosticator; his encounters with medieval science and the Inquisition; and his early struggles with his visions of the future. The film is set in France in the 16th century during one of the periodic plague outbreaks (as opposed to the Black Death [mid-14th-century Europe] or the Black Plague [mid-17th-century London]). The film depicts Nostradamus's rise in influence, because of both his success in treating plague and his predictions, culminating in his appointment as court physician to Charles IX of France. Written by
Nostradamus is showing his son how to use a divining rod to find underground water and says that there is water 4 meters below, but the metric system wasn't invented until 1799 (roughly 160 years later). See more »
NOSTRADAMUS, aka: Michel de Notre Dame (1503-1566) is an enigmatic, elusive character in history books and dusty old biographies. What this excellent biopic does is make him a real flesh-and-blood person with passions, desires, fears and dreams, and the extremely talented European actor Tcheky Karyo (The CORE, 2002) carries the film admirably from start to finish. He makes Nostradamus a living, breathing human being, a Christian Jew who is seeking to understand his place in the Universe and is an open-minded seeker of truth and a true scientist and physician, a dedicated man of science who invented the first chewable Vitamin C tablet made with rose hips as an effective cure for the Black Plague in its early stages. Of course there was no cure once the plague had spread in the body, so it must have been especially a cruel twist of fate for Michel when his dear first wife Marie and their two children died of the plague and he could not even save them! The casting, acting, production, story and script, and lush cinematography at fascinating locations (filmed in Romania and Europe in 1993) are all first-rate. All aspects of this production are extremely well-handled. Especially good are flawless performances by Julia Ormond, Assumpta Serna, Amanda Plummer, Rutger Hauer, Anthony Higgins, and F. Murray Abraham as the remarkable Dr. Julius Caesar Scalinger (1484-1558), a wealthy friend of both Nostradamus and Dr. Rabelais of Paris, the most noted physician of his day in Europe. The visual effects are a bit shaky here and there, but in all everything works well to a satisfying look into the life of one of the greatest mystery men of the early Renaissance. His prophecies are fascinating and penetrating, as a latter-day prophet. One thing I would love to know is where that beautiful mansion of Dr. Scalinger is, and more about it. If it was built during the life of Nostradamus, it certainly was one of the most modern structures in the world, in its day! An interesting site, with its ornate topiary garden.
The music score by Barrington Pheloung is captivating and should be available on CD. This film deserves a wide-screen DVD release! Classic epic drama, although episodic, with true European realism in its depiction of vignettes from Michel's love life, showing us the world as it really was in the plague-ridden Roman Catholic-dominated 16th Century Europe. Highly recommended, worth several viewings to take all of it in.
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