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Cantando dietro i paraventi
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Reviews & Ratings for
Singing Behind Screens More at IMDbPro »Cantando dietro i paraventi (original title)

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7 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

An epic fable about piracy , honor and power .

Author: frippertronic81 from Cagliari, Italy
1 April 2004

"Cantando dietro i paraventi" tells the story of a woman who takes the leadership of a group of pirates which was once at the orders of her dead husband . Olmi got us used to the mix of epic fable and historical tale but this time he also expresses his personal views on storytelling through an explicit use of a theatrical representation . All aspects of cinematography are at very high levels in this movie : excellent photography (the hands of Fabio Olmi are a big promise for Italian cinema) , beautiful sounds and striking dialogs even though in the Italian version the Chinese actors are not superbly dubbed . Everything is very well mixed together and the spectator truly has the feeling to live in one of those ancient oriental fables . I personally think this title doesn't achieve the formal perfection of "Il Mestiere delle armi" or "L'albero degli zoccoli" but is still very enjoyable and well made reminding me the more poetic version of Olmi that we've seen in "Il segreto del bosco vecchio". Surely one of the best movies of 2003 .

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:


Author: Kemal Yilmaz (CambelIMDB) from Istanbul, Turkey
4 April 2005

Surely it is not a masterpiece but a very very impressive work.

First of all watching a far-eastern myth from the perspective of an Italian director is really exciting. Costume and production designs are very good. On the other hand cinematography is also brilliant. The most interesting part is that cinematography is not something we used to see in far-eastern movies. That increases the originality. Italian speaking characters are not artificial since all the dialogs and themes contain universal issues. Bud Spencer's performance is really good. But the biggest thing is, of course, Olmi's narration style. There were some parallel editing samples in the movie that should have been shown in film classes.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

An all times tale... with a beautiful she-Pirate and a kind King (well, lets say an Emperor!)... with art & poetry!!

Author: Carlos Yrigoyen ( from Lima, Peru
1 July 2006

First of all, I must apologize on behalf of my Latin (Italian) blood!! I mean, if there is something I like... I really LIKE IT !! and let me say it again: I really loved & LIKED this film!! The script takes you back to those stories by Emilio Salgari about the Malasya's Tigers or even to those other Pirates at the Caribbean Sea. But this time, just sailing by the Sea of China... Oh sorry!! it is a little far away from the Hispaniola...? It must be the Butterfly Effect!! Changing places, from behind the screen to the open sea, or inside the Captain's Cabin to the beautiful Widow Ching's heart (Jun Ichikawa not only speaks Italian with Rome accent, but her eastern beauty has that touch too!!), or deep her (ours) thoughts, memories or dreams... who really knows? It is more than a tale for grown people that used to be children once upon a time... Lovely!! I really enjoy it!! Oh!! by the way, if you are planning to watch it with your kids, beware about some elegant & artistic views of Miss Ichikawa's beauty... just a few minutes before the end of the story... But don't loose the message that comes on the gorgeous kites... Lovely!! This is a film to enjoy it.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Another "not to be missed" Ermanno Olmi Film.

Author: adrienne-nolan from New Zealand
6 November 2006

I have yet to be disappointed with Olmi's work and "Cantando dietro i paraventi" was no exception. It met all my expectations and more. It is a superbly executed film with all the hallmarks of Olmi's lyricism and beauty of composition. Each frame is a joy to behold and Olmi is a master at setting mood and tempo. From the stage to high seas the audience is taken on a memorable journey - a blend of the real and the performed which culminates in a beautiful and magical scene of kites soaring through and from the sky bearing their message of peace. Long may Olmi and his son continue to make films of such quality and visual delight.

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5 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

a study of love, technology, government and the politics of theft

Author: (
25 April 2004

In a liminal space that intersects dream, theater, nature document and fable, Olmi, with his uniquely wise and gentile narrative genius tells us about the nature of human faith, love, desire and how power is given and taken away. An important film for all children and everyone else, and a powerful reminder that violence is an option not a necessity. Understanding works better. This is a must see film, for its content and compelling visual and narrative style. Once again after the Mestiere delle Armi, Olmi, an absolute master, affirms that he is perhaps the most profoundly humanist film director working today.

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This film is enjoyable to watch.

Author: hometax from United States
2 October 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

It would be easy to criticize this film, it indeed has many faults. However, overall it is very well done, and plays on the screen enjoyably. I agree that it is strange to watch a host of Japanese actors and actresses (not Chinese) play the roles of Chinese and speak in dubbed Italian. but for some reason, the audience with whom I watched this film delighted in that aspect. If anything, I found the title to be obscure, unless it represents female hostesses serving male clients with food and beverage, and maybe themselves, while their clients watch a stage play from behind screens. A film about a stage play featuring female Chinese pirates is most unusual, yet it goes down easily on the screen. Don't let other critics dissuade you from seeing this film.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Olmi's best?

Author: postcefalu from Spain
16 March 2006

There's a laconic but amazing beauty in Olmi's last release. "Cantando dietro i paraventi" is a song for all the adventures that we didn't experiment, for all the landscapes we'd never see. It's his more "wellesian" work and one of the movies that impressed me the most in the last five years. I don't want to think what would Greenaway do with this material but probably a total failure. This film from a veteran like Olmi remembers us that weerasethakul and Sang-soo are the present, not the future. After a long career and still recent his brilliant "Ilo mestiere delle armi", Olmi returns to a place that he never thought: the land of the filmmakers compromised with themselves and the history. It's amazing doing this in a rickety cinematography like Italy's. Cheers, signore Olmi

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4 out of 41 people found the following review useful:

Do not watch this movie...

Author: CUDIU from Glubdubdribb
4 November 2004

This is probably the worst movie I have seen since another Italian 'masterpiece': Nonhosonno by director Dario Argento. Actors play awfully, the story is unbelievable, the shift from theatre stage to ships not consistent. Bud Spencer randomly mixing Italian with occasional Spanish words is pure crap (why has he to do it?? Is there any reason for that? Maybe because his character is supposedly from Andorra… where Spanish is NOT spoken…). Moreover, watching Chinese speaking Italian (some are VERY badly dubbed) is kind of ridiculous… Chinese proverbs are scattered in the screenplay, and no one of them makes any sense… The ships and the setting are indeed beautiful, but why not spending all the money they cost in other stuff, an average screenplay writer and an average director for example… oh, I see, they are the same person. I cannot understand why certain directors just do not retire as they should… Ermanno Olmi delighted us with at least one masterpiece (L'Albero degli Zoccoli), a lot of boring movies, but never had he attained such a horrible level… and still there are reviewers on the web that hold this movie in good opinion (have a look on Google and you'll see)! Hey, Italian film critics, why are you just so scared of writing a negative review for this film? Why praising it? Because Olmi is the prestigious, long career, beloved local filmmaker? Because of "political" reasons? An average Vanzina brothers' movie is 100 times better than this…

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