This biography tells the life story of Augustine, the Bishop of Hippo, a North African region during the last years of the Roman Empire. The film details Augustine's struggle to maintain ... See full summary »
1661: Cardinal Mazarin dies. In the power vacuum, the young Louis asserts his intention to govern as well as rule. Mazarin's fiscal advisor, Colbert, warns against Fouquet, the Surintendant... See full summary »
A demon bestows on a self-righteous working photographer's camera the power to smite from the Earth "evil-doers". Naturally, the indignant photographer turns his new weapon on, one by one, ... See full summary »
The film dramatizes about a dozen vignettes from the life of St. Francis and his early followers - starting with their return in the rain to Rivotorlo from Rome when the Pope blessed their ... See full summary »
The life and ideas of the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. A love triangle unfolds as Nietzsche and his best friend decides to live with a Jewish woman. According to Nietzsche's ... See full summary »
Extremely good value for folks interested in the history of science, history of rationalism, or mid-renaissance thinkers and culture. Rossellini's very sober Cartesius is a chronicle of Descartes' life and times, following him through Europe as he develops his ideas about science and existence. Rossellini shows us the genius Descartes, but also shows us quietly that he could get things wrong and that he was a product of his times.
The production has some weaknesses as well as some strengths. The music, as another reviewer has mentioned, is odd and over-used. The acting is adequate but never more than that. There is a tableau quality to scenes throughout the film the people are stiff and come across as conduits of the dialogue rather than actually speaking. There are some real pluses too. During the entirety of one scene in which Descartes is describing his philosophy to a printer, two men work a printing press one placing the blank pages on the type set that he has daubed with ink, and the other turning the screw a half turn, then back. There are several other scenes that show craftspeople engaged in their work. Finally, I found it refreshing that everyone, French, Dutch, and English, spoke Italian - leaving me to figure out nationality by clothing styles and names.
If Cartesius turns out to be your cup of tea, you may like Potop (The Deluge), directed by Jerzy Hoffman, set in Poland around the time of Descartes (and Gustav Adolph). While a very different approach to filmed history, it is a colourful and interesting story.
7 of 9 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?