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After World War II, a small French village struggles to put the war behind as the controlling Communist Party tries to flush out Petain loyalists. The local bar owner, a simple man who ... See full summary »
Set during the fading glory of the Austro-Hungarian empire, the film tells of the rise and fall of Alfred Redl (Brandauer), an ambitious young officer who proceeds up the ladder to become ... See full summary »
Klaus Maria Brandauer,
Hans Christian Blech,
The shepherd Gombo lives with his wife, three children and grandmother in a tent on the Mongolian steppe. They are pleased with their rustic conditions, until a Russian truck driver, ... See full summary »
After another cardiac arrest, Armand knows he doesn't have long to live. But after more than 70 years in the same house, he doesn't want to die anywhere else. His wife, Rose, has secretly ... See full summary »
Jean Pierre Lefebvre
J. Léo Gagnon,
Marcel, recently released from prison, attempt to rebuild his relationship with his girlfriend Julie (now a prostitute) and especially his father Albert (who thinks he's been away on a long... See full summary »
In London, the Russian pregnant teenager Tatiana arrives bleeding in a hospital, and the doctors save her baby only. The Russian descendant midwife Anna Khitrova finds Tatiana's diary written in Russian language in her belongings and decided to find her family to deliver the baby, she brings the diary home and ask her uncle Stepan to translate the document. Stepan refuses, but Anna finds a card of a restaurant owned by the Russian Semyon inside the diary and she visits the old man trying to find a lead to contact Tatiana's family. When she mentions the existence of the diary, Semyon immediately offers to translate the document. However, Stepan translates part of the diary and Anna discovers that Semyon and his sick son Kirill had raped Tatiana when she was fourteen years old and forced her to work as prostitute in a brothel of their own. Further, Semyon is the dangerous boss of the Russian mafia "Vory v Zakone", jeopardizing the safety of Anna and her family. Meanwhile, Semyon's ... Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
None of the characters who were members of the Vory v Zakone used a gun throughout the movie. The reason for this is that when doing research on Russian organized crime, David Cronenberg discovered that members of the Vory v Zakone typically prefer to use knives instead of guns. The rationale for this is that if Vory v Zakone members were arrested by police and questioned as to why they were in possession of such weapons, the suspects could evade suspicion by claiming that the knives were simply for linoleum cutting. See more »
Tatiana has been on heroin according to the diary, and has had several shots recently, as can be seen on the needle marks. Therefore, the baby was addicted at birth and has to be treated with methadone or such. At 3 months of age, the baby should have the drugs out of his system. How much was in his system at birth depends on how soon before delivery the mother took drugs. The long term effects are dependent on the amount of drugs given to the mother especially if there was drug use in the first trimester. Many times there is a delay of several years before difficulties begin to appear, especially at school-age when learning difficulties become evident. See more »
He says "Christmas." So I say to him,
"Should we go shopping?"
The kid's 16. He says, "But uncle, it's Christmas."
See more »
Slavery and Suffering
Traditional Revolutionary Song
Arranged by Dimitri Oleg Yachinov
Performed by The Red Army Choir under the direction of B. Alexandrov
Courtesy of Silva Screen Records Ltd.
Under license from FGL Productions See more »
When it comes to films made by veteran Canadian director, David Cronenberg, certain promises are expected to be kept. The name promises something dark and twisted, something gruesome and haunting, something disturbing and seductive. Cronenberg's latest, EASTERN PROMISES, certainly makes good on all these accounts and solidifies his new, more linear but no less disconcerting approach to film-making. Gone are the days of surreal experiments where fetishists get off on colliding cars and the ensuing scars or twin gynecologists playing patients for patsies. Now is the time for the Russian mafia in London to be given a human touch. No, now Mr. Cronenberg is not so concerned with being bizarre as he is with being blunt. As with his last masterpiece, A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE, Cronenberg has made PROMISES into a straightforward story and morality tale, much to the dismay of film students everywhere. Fear not though, students. Accessibility does not make Cronenberg irrelevant. If anything, it means that brilliantly polished stories about the underbelly of humanity can be told without any unnecessary sentiment, allowing for them to be both provocative and bloody as all hell.
It rains just as much in Cronenberg's London as it does in the real London. The rain ushers in the heavy yet steady hand of this director, whose work always seems to be weighed down by a looming sense of despair and discomfort. Still, though the viewer is pulled into a world where cutting the tips off of fingers and slitting throats is just as normal as a well-balanced breakfast, nothing is so simple as good and evil as absolutes. Like the sky the rain is falling from, everyone is surrounded by an ambiguous grey. Naomi Watts plays a mid-wife named Anna. On one tragic evening, Anna helps to bring a baby into the world at the expense of the very young, heroine-addicted mother's life. She does not want to see the child fall into the system as the girl cannot be identified to find her next of kin so she makes it her mission to find the girl's family before this can happen. It may all seem noble but her saintly act also serves to appease the pain she has felt since the miscarriage of her own child months before. She couldn't save her baby but she can certainly try to help this one. Her search leads her directly to the door of the Russian mafia and this is where she meets Nikolai (Viggo Mortensen). At the moment, Nikolai is just the driver but he's got hopes to one day be part of the real family. He would be perfect for the job as he is calculated and cold when he needs to be but then again not so as he also takes the time to encourage the slave sex- worker he's just been with to find a better life. People are complicated; Cronenberg knows this and this is what gives EASTERN PROMISES its depth.
Though regular Cronenberg cinematographer, Peter Suschitzky, guides EASTERN PROMISES with a tranquil glide that sets the pace as both unnerving and engrossing, it is Mortensens's performance as an aspiring mafioso with a nagging sense of compassion that is most memorable and moving. His face is harsh and guarded behind his dark sunglasses and beneath his slicked back, immaculately placed hair lies a mystery that is being heavily protected. His presence is daunting as he steps from a black town car, dressed to match, from his shoes to his gloves. He is naturally imposing and his icy composure and unflinching dedication to his superiors make him frightening without really trying. He is not so much trying to intimidate others into submission though but rather to keep them away. Yet there is something about him that inspires those around him to see a reason to trust him. Perhaps it is his reliability or perhaps it is just that you know once you meet him that you would rather have him on your side than on the other. Mortensen, working with Cronenberg for the second time after his tortured performance in A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE, is transformed and nearly unrecognizable as Nikolai. And while his character is extremely guarded, he still manages to find himself in a very naked position before the film's end, in what is a shocking and exhilarating fight sequence that finds Cronenberg, as God, going after Nikolai when he is at his most vulnerable. Proving himself to be a vengeful God, Cronenberg punishes his character for allowing himself to relax for three seconds to appreciate his success.
The fight sequence is already being heralded as one for the books that will be talked about for years to come. I have a feeling we will be hearing just as much talk about Mortensen's performance, Steven Knight's script and Cronenberg's direction come awards season. After setting the groundwork with A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE (which I actually do prefer over EASTERN PROMISES just because it left me with more on my mind), the mainstream film community seems finally ready to reward one of its veteran contributors. If you're going to sell out, I can't imagine a better way to do it.
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