In this adaptation of the Thomas Mann novel, avant-garde composer Gustave Aschenbach (loosely based on Gustav Mahler) travels to a Venetian seaside resort in search of repose after a period... See full summary »
In a near-empty Northfork orphanage, Father Harlan gently tends to Irwin, an eight-year-old who lies between a dream state and death. As orphanage caretaker Harlan reads aloud about Northfork's years-ago forced evacuation to make way for a hydro-electric dam, Irwin's imagination takes flight. While a team of six men evacuate the last remaining citizens of the town, Irwin, too, invents a cast of characters to prepare himself for his own evacuation. (the above states the caretaker - who is actually the priest - is reading about a years-ago evacuation. In the movie, the evacuation is taking place as the boy lays dying!) Written by
Sujit R. Varma
When the six committee members get out of their three cars at the dam, we hear eight doors slam. See more »
[reading a letter]
To the loving O'Brien family. It has been brought to our attention that the remains of a Mrs. Patricia O'Brien have yet to be excavated. Please make arrangements immediately.
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It's a shame this movie is rated PG 13--it is really quite suitable for anyone--though young kids might not follow it too well.
It belongs to that wonderful genre of serio-comic ghost/angel stories that would have to include everything from Capra's "It's A Wonderful Life" to Wenders's "Wings of Desire."
The photography is stunning, the acting first rate, and--wonder of wonders--the tone is uplifting.
My only criticism is that there is not much ambiguity in the film. The two interwoven stories seem intriguingly mysterious at first; but they resolve themselves a little too nicely for my taste. As the director points out in his commentary on the DVD, all the ingredients of Irwin's story are on his bedside table. The symbolism is just a trifle too pat for me.
But what a lark! My favorite scene has to be when the relocation team tries to get breakfast at a diner. This is practically theatrical in its magic--a tour de force of witty acting--subtle, playful, and positively rhythmic--coupled with striking cinematography and an acute eye for the grotesque.
"Northfork" is funny, touching, gorgeous to look at, magical (with the above reservations) and has not one single car-chase.
An easy nine stars.
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