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Isabel and Clara are growing up in a time of terror. It is 1492, and Spain has decreed that all Jews must either convert to Catholicism, go into exile or face trial and execution. Although forcibly baptized, the sisters are chased through Christendom until they arrive in Venice. It is in this great maritime empire, where opulence rhymes with tolerance, that Isabel organizes secret passages for refugees fleeing the Inquisition while Clara falls in love with a Venetian noble, Paolo Zane. Isabel intends for her family to go to Istanbul, the only place where Jews can live freely, but Clara is reluctant to leave. She challenges Isabel's authority and is prepared to break her family ties and sacrifice her faith for love. Caught in this battle of wills is Clara's daughter, Victoria, who finds she is about to be married into the same faith that murdered her father. Written by
I had never heard of Ademir Kenovic before this movie, but I was stunned by his abilities. It's possible to pause this fim in hundreds of places to see a masterwork painting in the framing, composition and scenery.
The credits list a battalion of those involved in the scenery, costumes and technical support needed for such a costume drama and no wonder. My main criticism is that, perhaps for reasons of the actors' vanity, frequently the characters did not wear hats or headgear, as they would have done in the 15th century and also often appeared casually dressed in what would have been a very formal society.
The story line is sufficiently complex to hold the attention without being overly convoluted, dealing essentially with the basics of human relationships and fate. The dialogue is sharp and the actors all did a good job.
Very reminiscent of BBC historical drama at its best, with the added bonus of such a talented Bosnian director.
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