6.9/10
5,496
82 user 22 critic

Prospero's Books (1991)

The magician Prospero attempts to stop his daughter's affair with an enemy.

Director:

Peter Greenaway
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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 3 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
John Gielgud ... Prospero
Michael Clark Michael Clark ... Caliban
Michel Blanc ... Alonso
Erland Josephson ... Gonzalo
Isabelle Pasco ... Miranda
Tom Bell ... Antonio
Kenneth Cranham ... Sebastian
Mark Rylance ... Ferdinand
Gerard Thoolen ... Adrian
Pierre Bokma ... Francisco
Jim van der Woude Jim van der Woude ... Trinculo
Michiel Romeyn Michiel Romeyn ... Stephano
Orpheo Orpheo ... Ariel
Paul Russell Paul Russell ... Ariel
James Thierrée James Thierrée ... Ariel (as James Thiérrée)
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Storyline

An exiled magician finds an opportunity for revenge against his enemies muted when his daughter and the son of his chief enemy fall in love in this uniquely structured retelling of the 'The Tempest'. Written by Keith Loh <loh@sfu.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A magician's spell, the innocence of young love and a dream of revenge unite to create a tempest.

Genres:

Drama | Fantasy

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for pervasive nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | Netherlands | France | Italy | Japan

Language:

English

Release Date:

30 August 1991 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

A Última Tempestade See more »

Filming Locations:

UK See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

£1,500,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$1,750,301
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Allarts,Cinéa,Caméra One See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

All the credits (right down to the copyright warnings) are shown at the beginning of the movie. See more »

Connections

Version of BBC Play of the Month: The Tempest (1968) See more »

Soundtracks

Prospero's Magic
Written by Michael Nyman
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User Reviews

It's a ballet
6 June 2004 | by scottnickellSee all my reviews

I found Prospero's Books fascinating, on many levels, but it wasn't until my second or third time watching it that I realized the "key" to unlocking this film: It's a ballet.

This film is essentially images and motion choreographed to music (this realization struck me during the opening credit sequence in one viewing). Now, it's an unusual ballet: The "music" includes the mellifluous recitation of "The Tempest" by Gielgud, and the choreography includes things like digital manipulation of images, and the images are heavily influenced by renaissance paintings, but I maintain that the film is, fundamentally, a ballet.

That means that you shouldn't really expect a clear expression of the story, any more than you would from any other ballet. What you should expect is a series of interesting images choreographed to music inspired by "The Tempest". As with any ballet, you can follow it if you're already familiar with the story, but otherwise, you should read the play in advance.

And, just a couple of things about some of the most common criticisms: The naked people? Think of them as invisible - they are visual symbolic representations of the "airy spirits" Prospero commands, his magic. The infamous pissing? Ariel p***ing on a model ship is just an obvious visual metaphor for Ariel creating a storm over the real ship.


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