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The group of women from different countries and social levels are prisoners in a Japanese POW camp, where one of them, Adrienne, who is a graduate of the Royal Academy of Music, organizes a vocal band in spite of their guards resistance. Written by
A heartfelt, underrated work of art with some magnificent performances.
Why didn't more people see this film? This is what makes it great:
As an ensemble piece it works wonderfully - the cast are truly magnificent. Glenn Close is fabulous as the 'central' character and most well known 'star', but she does not monopolise all the scenes and screen time. She blends in with what is a wonderful cast, and does so impeccably. Why she hasn't been given more kudos as an actress is beyond me - she is stunning.
The film worked perfectly because of what comes across as a genuine rapport between the female cast. Each actress brings a different element to the story - Jennifer Ehle is strong willed and beautiful, Julianna Marguilles fiesty and dominant, Pauline Collins has such a human quality which she conveys to perfection, Cate Blanchett portrays wonderfully a quiet woman with a rebellious side. All compliment and balance each other. The actresses succeed admirably in bringing to the fore the bond that grew between their real life inspirations for this story.
The direction is precise and the cinematogrpahy beautiful. Despite the bleak context, Japan still looks vibrant and colourful, full of life.
The score. I can't do justice to the score in words - the vocal orchestra formed by the women is just beautiful and poignant to listen to and really does need to be heard to be understood. Somehow the actresses manage to make the music symbolise their humanity and spirit. It works wonderfully.
Overall, this is a heartfelt film with a profound message of hope which runs all the way through it. 'Paradise Road' is one of those rare films which reminds you of the indestructible nature of the human spirit. I wish there were more films like this one, and I wish more people had have seen this film. In a word it's a gem.
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