7.9/10
2,655
24 user 19 critic

Providence (1977)

A dying writer bases his last book on his own perception of his family.

Director:

Alain Resnais

Writer:

David Mercer
Reviews
11 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Dirk Bogarde ... Claude Langham
Ellen Burstyn ... Sonia Langham
John Gielgud ... Clive Langham
David Warner ... Kevin Langham / Kevin Woodford
Elaine Stritch ... Helen Wiener
Cyril Luckham ... Doctor Mark Eddington
Denis Lawson ... Dave Woodford (as Dennis Lawson)
Kathryn Leigh Scott ... Miss Boon
Milo Sperber Milo Sperber ... Mr. Jenner
Anna Wing Anna Wing ... Karen
Peter Arne ... Nils
Tanya Lopert Tanya Lopert ... Miss Lister
Joseph Pittoors Joseph Pittoors ... An Old Man
Samson Fainsilber Samson Fainsilber ... The Old Man
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Storyline

Clive Langham (Sir John Gielgud) spends one tormenting night in his bed suffering from health problems and thinking up a story based on his relatives. He is a bitter man and he shows, through flashbacks, how spiteful, conniving and treacherous his family is. But is this how they really are or is it his own vindictive slant on things? Written by Archie Moore <ar.moore@student.qut.edu.au>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

France | Switzerland | UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

9 February 1977 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Провидение See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Sir John Gielgud, who spent most of his career on the stage, considered this movie and the television mini-series Brideshead Revisited (1981) to be his only two screen appearances of which he was genuinely proud. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Clive Langham: Damn. Damn. Damn... damn!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Empty Screen or the Metaphysics of Movies (2017) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A hilarious trip
10 April 2003 | by manuel-pestalozziSee all my reviews

This is one of the strangest movies I know. French intellectual aesthete meets contemporary British playwright - this should be the title of Providence. When two completely different cultures meet for a common project, the risk of failure is enormous. But in this case something interestingly and uniquely hilarious was created. Providence is a feverish dream that was successfully created for the screen.

The dream sequences of an old, dying writer, played by John Gielgud are absurd in a very British way. John Gielguds's upper class "king's English" voice-over adds effectively to its strangeness. As usual in contemporary British plays, sex and bowel movements are of the utmost importance . no, the script as a whole is neither very original nor particularly funny. I liked the incongruous, illogical situations though. Every now and then, in the most impossible situations, a strange, sickly looking football player (he seems to have fallen off Monty Python's Flying Circus) jogs limply past.

Director Alain Resnais is responsible for the dreamscapes, and they make Providence worth watching. Real settings are artfully distorted into haunting, surreal spatial sequences. Foreground and background, light and darkness, different textures and beautiful color arrangements are expertly arranged into a world of its own that is never too far from reality. One is sometimes reminded of Magritte's surrealistic paintings. Strange sounds add to the almost psychedelic effect the dream scenes have.

The acting is remarkable, especially Dirk Bogarde as the writer's slick, cynical «dream son» gives an outstanding performance.


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