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Death and the Maiden (1994)

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A political activist is convinced that her guest is a man who once tortured her for the government.

Director:

Roman Polanski

Writers:

Ariel Dorfman (play), Rafael Yglesias (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Sigourney Weaver ... Paulina Escobar
Ben Kingsley ... Dr. Roberto Miranda
Stuart Wilson ... Gerardo Escobar
Krystia Mova Krystia Mova ... Dr. Miranda's Wife
Jonathan Vega Jonathan Vega ... Dr. Miranda's Son
Rodolphe Vega Rodolphe Vega ... Dr. Miranda's Son
Gilberto Cortés Gilberto Cortés ... String Quartet Player (as Gilberto Cortes)
Jorge Cruz Jorge Cruz ... String Quartet Player
Carlos Moreno Carlos Moreno ... String Quartet Player
Eduardo Valenzuela Eduardo Valenzuela ... String Quartet Player
Sergio Ortega Alvarado Sergio Ortega Alvarado ... String Quartet Manager
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Storyline

Paulina Escobar is a political activist whose husband is a prominent lawyer in an unnamed South American country just out of a dictatorship. One day a storm forces her husband to ride home with a neighbor. That chance encounter brings up demons from her past, as she is convinced that the neighbor (Dr. Miranda) was part of the old fascist regime that tortured and raped her, while blindfolded. Paulina takes him captive to determine the truth. Paulina is torn between her psychological repressions and somber memory, Gerardo is torn between his wife and the law, and Dr. Miranda is forced to endure captivity while husband and wife seek out the uncertain truth about the clouded past. Written by Henry G. Herron <hgherron@wsuhub.uc.twsu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Prepare yourself for the moment of truth. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong language including descriptions of violent situations | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | France

Language:

English

Release Date:

27 January 1995 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La muerte y la doncella See more »

Filming Locations:

France See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$12,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$74,366, 26 December 1994

Gross USA:

$3,103,716

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$3,103,716
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo | Dolby SR

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Roman Polanski wanted Jack Nicholson and Anjelica Huston for the leads. See more »

Goofs

At the beginning Paulina is cooking something in a pan over the fire, then, for dinner she produces only a roasted chicken and green salad. So what was she cooking in the pan? See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Gerardo Escobar: Are you quite sure you won't come in?
Dr. Roberto Miranda: No thanks, just want to get home after that.
Gerardo Escobar: Yeah, me too. Look, I'm really sorry for all the trouble I put you to.
Dr. Roberto Miranda: Yeah, no problem.
Gerardo Escobar: Well if I can't persuade you, why don't you come over some time. Thanks again, goodbye.
Gerardo Escobar: [returning again to the car] Ah, you now it's crazy, I never introduced myself. Gerardo Escobar.
Dr. Roberto Miranda: Dr. Roberto Miranda.
Gerardo Escobar: It's very nice to meet you. If you're ever passing...
Dr. Roberto Miranda: Escobar? The lawyer?
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Ravenswood: Death and the Maiden (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

SCHUBERT STRING QUARTET IN D MINOR
Written by Franz Schubert
Performed by Amadeus Quartet (as The Amadeus Quartet)
Recording courtesy of Deutsche Grammophon Gmbh
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Best work of Polanski after Chinatown and Tess
29 September 2001 | by JuguAbrahamSee all my reviews

It is easy to heap praises on a film based on a good play--the subject overwhelms you. It is however not so easy to probe what is attractive in a good film beyond the two obvious elements--the subject and the acting.

I confess that I have loved Polanski's "The Ninth Gate" for the teaming of Polanski and Wojciech Kilar. This is the second film where the duo weaves magic with great music--beyond the Schubert piece around which the film revolves. The two gentlemen from Poland are truly gifted.

There is another person I admire and that is Rafael Yglesias. When he works on a screenplay, he makes the original look very different. He did that with Hugo's "Les Miserables" and got brickbats from purists. With Ariel Dorfman's literary work, the liberties are not so striking.

The cinematography of Tonino Delli Colli, Polanski's collaborator in "Bitter Moon" is again riveting: cloudy exteriors; stark interiors. The close-ups and long shots of Weaver are those of a lawyer, making the viewer a party to the "court case in progress"

Finally, this is Sigourney Weaver's finest film and can at best be only compared to her performances in "Gorillas in the Mist" and "Year of Living Dangerously."

Polanski is a director who has made good and indifferent films. I congratulate him on putting together his team of actors, cameramen, musicians and others to make this one. Only "Chinatown" and "Tess" were more enjoyable than this work of Polanski (including his early cinema).


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