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Besieged (1998)
"L'assedio" (original title)

 -  Drama | Romance  -  21 May 1999 (USA)
7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 3,411 users  
Reviews: 42 user | 51 critic

When an African dictator jails her husband, Shandurai goes into exile in Italy, studying medicine and keeping house for Mr. Kinsky, an eccentric English pianist and composer. She lives in ... See full summary »

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Title: Besieged (1998)

Besieged (1998) on IMDb 7/10

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3 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Agostino
John C. Ojwang ...
Singer
Massimo De Rossi ...
Patient
Cyril Nri ...
Priest
Paul Osul ...
Piano Buyer
Veronica Lazar ...
Piano Buyer
Gian Franco Mazzoni ...
Piano Buyer (as Gianfranco Mazzoni)
Maria Mazetti Di Pietralata ...
Piano Buyer
Andrea Quercia ...
Child pianist at concert
Alexander Menis ...
Child at concert
Natalia Mignosa ...
Child at concert
Lorenzo Mollica ...
Child at concert
Elena Perino ...
Child at concert
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Storyline

When an African dictator jails her husband, Shandurai goes into exile in Italy, studying medicine and keeping house for Mr. Kinsky, an eccentric English pianist and composer. She lives in one room of his Roman palazzo. He besieges her with flowers, gifts, and music, declaring passionately that he loves her, would go to Africa with her, would do anything for her. "What do you know of Africa?," she asks, then, in anguish, shouts, "Get my husband out of jail!" The rest of the film plays out the implications of this scene and leaves Shandurai with a choice. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

jail | english | love | gift | flower | See more »

Taglines:

Touched by Genius. Cursed by Madness. Blinded by Love.

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for brief sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

| |

Release Date:

21 May 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Asediada  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$159,289 (USA) (21 May 1999)

Gross:

$2,032,621 (USA) (30 July 1999)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Connections

References Chungking Express (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

Africa
Written & Performed by John C. Ojwang
See more »

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User Reviews

 
But now I've said too much?
9 July 1999 | by See all my reviews

What to say? Besieged is a timeless, unabashedly romantic masterpiece. Poetic and original, this movie studies two people locked in a slow dance of seduction. Based on James Lasdun's short story, "The Siege", the film reveals that love need not not be reduced to self-satisfaction and immediate gratification or communication to trifling words. Can love transcend ostensibly insurmountable objects before the principle characters (such as the dizzying height of the spiral staircase)? Perhaps. One thing is for sure: this film will strike a resounding chord in your heart! Not only does the glorious music speak volumes of the character and background of Mr. Kinsky, a wealthy European pianist, and his live-in housekeeper, Shandurai, it also pitch-perfectly articulates feelings too buried for either to verbalize. Indeed, when used as a medium to express emotions, music is much more effective than words. In the few instances they make eye contact, words seem to be superfluous. With minimal dialogue, it's incredible how Shandurai and Kinsky find ways to communicate and impact the other's life. The collision of their two worlds is celebrated in the hauntingly beautiful piece Kinsky composes for Shandurai,"Ostinato". The sounds and the deafening silences, the sights and the suspicious disappearances are all exquisitely executed by Bertolucci. With Claire Peploe, he fashions a tale that is at once simple and profound. Bringing the story to life is a powerhouse cast. Thandie Newton as the beleaguered and reticent Shandurai is a revelation. David Thewlis as the lovelorn, crafty, idiosyncratic ideograph Kinsky is way beyond "good enough". His portrayal of a man who achieves liberation through sacrifice is captivating. Also marvellous are the performances of John C. Ojwang as the griot and Claudio Santamaria as the buddy. Unlike the majority of movies that will be released this year, this one will etch an indelible impression on your mind and spirit. But now I've said too much?


22 of 26 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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