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Besieged (1998) More at IMDbPro »L'assedio (original title)

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Down 4% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Clare Peploe (writer) and
Bernardo Bertolucci (writer) ...
View company contact information for Besieged on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
21 May 1999 (USA) See more »
Touched by Genius. Cursed by Madness. Blinded by Love.
When an African dictator jails her husband, Shandurai goes into exile in Italy, studying medicine and keeping house for Mr... See more » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
3 wins & 11 nominations See more »
(2 articles)
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User Reviews:
A delicate dance of a movie See more (42 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Thandie Newton ... Shandurai

David Thewlis ... Jason Kinsky

Claudio Santamaria ... 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
Fernando Trombetti ... Child at concert
Veronica Visentin ... Child at concert

Directed by
Bernardo Bertolucci 
Writing credits
Clare Peploe (writer) and
Bernardo Bertolucci (writer)

James Lasdun (story)

Produced by
Massimo Cortesi .... producer
Clare Peploe .... associate producer
Original Music by
Alessio Vlad 
Cinematography by
Fabio Cianchetti 
Film Editing by
Jacopo Quadri 
Casting by
Fabiola Banzi 
Lucy Boulting 
Production Design by
Gianni Silvestri 
Art Direction by
Cynthia Sleiter  (as Cinzia Sleiter)
Set Decoration by
Cynthia Sleiter 
Costume Design by
Metka Kosak 
Makeup Department
Elisabetta De Leonardis .... hair stylist
Roberta Petrini .... makeup artist
Production Management
Andrea Filosa .... production manager
Emanuele Lomiry .... unit manager
Luigi Melecchi .... production manager: Africa
Marco Mauti .... protools consultant (uncredited)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Serena Canevari .... assistant director
Yahya Chavanga .... assistant director: Africa
Ginevra Elkann .... third assistant director
Henrique Laplaine .... second assistant director
Art Department
Vito Consoli .... painter
Renzo Corradi .... construction carpenter
Franco Fabietti .... construction carpenter
Ivano Gatti .... painter
Cristiano Gobbi .... swing gang
Metka Kosak .... textile and garden designer
Roberto Magagnini .... property master
Rodolfo Mignacca .... draper
Sabina Palermo .... props manager: Intelsa & Comunicazione
Massimo Papini .... swing gang
Monica Sallustio .... assistant art director
Vittoria Sogno .... art department assistant: Africa
Francesco Valento .... construction carpenter
Paolo Zamagni .... production design assistant
Sound Department
Fausto Ancillai .... sound re-recording mixer
Maurizio Argentieri .... sound
David Chelenga .... boom operator: Africa
Vincenzo Nardi .... boom operator
Gianni Pallotto .... assistant sound re-recording mixer
Alvaro Gramigna .... foley artist (uncredited)
Claudio Gramigna .... sound effects editor (uncredited)
Visual Effects by
David Bush .... visual effects supervisor
Camera and Electrical Department
Salvatore Anversa .... Steadicam operator
Alessio Bastianelli .... video controller
Fabio Bolli .... electrician
Alessia Bulgari .... still photographer
Aldo Colanzi .... key grip
Roberto De Nigris .... camera operator
Andrea Di Biase .... electrician
Igino Fabrizi .... electrician
Eugenio Galli .... assistant camera
Felice Guzzi .... gaffer
Mario Lamoratta .... generator operator
Maurizio Lorenzetti .... assistant camera
Wycliffe Makotsi .... gaffer: Africa
Gianni Mastrangelo .... still photographer: Africa
Gabriel Mugo Nduati .... grip: Africa
Martin N. Munyua .... assistant camera: Africa
Gianluigi Pasqualini .... electrician
Luigi Pasqualini .... electrician
Marco Santarelli .... grip
Paolo Tiberti .... dolly grip
Casting Department
Lenny Juma .... casting: Africa
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Suzanne Belcher .... wardrobe assistant: Africa (as Suzy Belcher)
Elisa di Serio .... seamstress
Editorial Department
Francesco Biscuso .... assistant to editor
Letizia Caudullo .... first assistant editor
Carlo La Bella .... color consultant (as Carlo Labella)
Lorenza Parlatore .... assistant to editor
Alessandro Baragli .... assistant editor (uncredited)
Location Management
Gabriel Gitau .... assistant location manager: Africa
Jimmy Mukora .... location manager: Africa
Julius Wanderi .... assistant location manager: Africa
Music Department
Stefano Arnaldi .... music arranger
Stefano Arnaldi .... musician: piano solos
Transportation Department
Silvano Broglia .... driver
William Cheruyiot .... driver: Africa
Lucio Fanni .... driver
Yussuf Duale Ghani .... driver: Africa
Livio Gizzi .... driver
Vincenzo Novani .... driver
Samson Oladare .... driver: Africa
Simon Wakaba .... driver: Africa
Other crew
Nicoletta Billi .... unit publicist
Lara dall'Antonia .... assistant to producer
Suzanne Durrenberger .... script supervisor
Sabrina Falcioni .... cashier
Maria Fiorito .... production accountant
Fabien Gerard .... additional script supervisor
Denise Katana .... unit nurse: Africa
Dan Kiarie .... set coordinator: Africa
David Mangai .... unit runner: Africa
Victor Maniafu .... security: Africa
Ben Pont .... armorer: Africa
Jenny Pont .... production coordinator: Africa
Tony Rimwa .... crowd control: Africa
Barbara Ruggeri .... production coordinator
Carlo Ventura .... dialogue coach
Alberto De Stefani .... accountant (uncredited)
Hercules Bellville .... special thanks
Pio Bordoni .... special thanks
Olivia Cutore .... special thanks
Ulisse Ferrari .... special thanks
Thomas Fox .... special thanks
Vito Lucio Amedeo Garofalo .... special thanks
Marilyn Goldin .... special thanks
Samba Kosak .... special thanks
Carol Levi .... special thanks
Gabriele Mazzetti .... special thanks
Mark Peploe .... special thanks
Sheba Pombeah .... special thanks
Piers Rogers .... special thanks
Jeremy Thomas .... special thanks
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial EffectsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"L'assedio" - Italy (original title)
"The Siege" - Canada (English title)
See more »
Rated R for brief sexuality
93 min
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.66 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

This was originally meant to be a 60 minute TV play until Bernardo Bertolucci decided to expand it.See more »
Movie Connections:
References Chungking Express (1994)See more »
Cuore MattoSee more »


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6 out of 8 people found the following review useful.
A delicate dance of a movie, 20 July 1999
Author: vonnie-2 from Ottawa, Canada

What a lovely film this is! I usually do not go for the kind of heavy-handed aestheticism Bertolucci has been partial to in his last few movies ("Stealing Beauty", "Little Buddha", "The Last Emperor" et al.), so imagine my surprise when this movie turned out to be an exquisitely rendered intimate love story. There are basically only two main characters: Jason Kinsky, a reclusive expatriate British pianist in Rome with an uncertain past (played here with great delicacy and understated charm by David Thewlis, in a 180 degree turnabout from the profane misanthrope he played in "Naked"), and Thandie Newton's Shandurai, his African housekeeper, who fled her strife-torn native country to train as a medical doctor in Rome while supporting herself by performing domestic drudgery. The striking, almost wordless opening sequence serves as an introduction to Shandurai's past. Then the camera rapidly cuts to the present day Rome, where already besotted Kinsky orbits around his beautiful and distant housekeeper, not realizing that her nights are tormented by the memory of her husband, a political prisoner left back in Africa. When Kinky approaches Shandurai with a hasty declaration, he is met with a steely and passionate resistance. Chastened, he retreats into a polite distance from the object of his desire. But from then on, nothing goes as expected. For the rest of the movie is about the change in the balance of this relationship, and the singular way through which the capitulation of Shandurai is achieved. The central sacrifice in the story is a grand romantic gesture of Gastbian proportion, simultaneously selfless and selfish.

I was completely enthralled at the way this movie unraveled itself, layer by delicate layer, with little dialogue but with a kaleidoscope of imagery and most of all, with music. Bertolucci is frequently obssessed with his heroine's beauty, and this is no exception. The camera frequently lingers on the gentle curve of Newton's arm, the slope of her back, and on her great dark eyes. However, Bertolucci has for once given us a compelling female character, a woman of determination as well as beauty, unlike his usual bevy of vacuous/self destructive mannequins (e.g. Liv Tyler in "Stealing Beauty", Dominique Sanda in "1900", etc). Shandurai's new-world vigor and her sense of purpose contrast starkly with Kinsky's aimlessness, his solitude, and especially his music, which permeates the movie with exquisite melancholy (the music consists mainly of solo piano pieces by Bach, Chopin, Scrabin and Coltrane). Likewise, the effect of their relationship on Kinsky is expressed most effectively through the transformation in his music, as primitive beats of Africa are blended into the lyricism of Kinsky's composition.

The movie is short, sparse and as different as night and day from the usually action-driven fares of Hollywood. Bertolucci, in a rare form, has fashioned a truly adult film that deftly navigates through the complexities of the human heart.

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Chronology kikojones
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the man always singing.... Gina00077
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What instrument is played at film's beginning? THEMURER-1
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