In New York, the money-driven dealer Dean Corso is a rare-books expert and partner of Bernie, who owns a bookstore. He is contacted by the renowned collector of books about the devil Boris Balkan, who has just acquired the rare The Nine Gates of the Kingdom of Shadows from the collector Andrew Telfer, to verify whether his book is authentic or a forgery. Balkan explains that the book was written by the writer Aristide Torchia, in 1666, with Lucifer and he was burned at the stake with his entire work. There are only three exemplars of The Nine Gates and in accordance with the legend, its nine engravings form a riddle to conjure the devil. The skeptical Corso accepts the assignment and has to fly to Sintra, Portugal, and Paris, France, to contact the owners Victor Fargas and Baroness Kessler and find the genuine exemplar for Balkan. Meanwhile, he asks Bernie to hide the rare book. Before traveling to Europe, the widow Liana Telfer wants to retrieve the book and has sex with Corso, but ... Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
It has been claimed that the book of the Nine Gates was written in 1666. See more »
When Corso returns to the Book Sellers, and finds the missing page from the book as it falls from atop the old bookcase, in the first shot, it is entirely gray with years of dust, as it floats to the floor. When he picks it up seconds later, it is completely clean on both sides. See more »
It's an impressive collection. You have some very rare editions here. Are you sure you want to sell them all?
Old Man's Son:
They're of no use to father. Not anymore. Not since he's been this way. His library was his whole world. Now it's just a painful memory.
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As with many of Polanski's films, "The Ninth Gate" includes beautiful settings, great orchestration, and intriguing characters. He was able to put together a talented cast, including several from the largely untapped European community. These include Jose Lopez Rodero, giving a short but humorous and witty performance, and the striking Emmanuelle Seigner, who plays her part with the perfect subtlety (no doubt due in part to Polanski's influence). Johnny Depp (playing the bibliophile anti-hero) gives another adept performance and the musical score is expertly composed. The only negatives I noticed were that the movie was at times too slow paced and that the ending left something to the imagination. But all-in-all Polanski has left us with an enduring thriller propelled by a (refreshingly) character-driven tale.
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