Swept from the Sea (1997)
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However, his novels are among the greatest literary achievements in literature in the English language. His first novel near 1900, but as he had not been schooled in the Victorian style, his narrative was entirely different. Basing himself on his own experiences roaming the wild and wide seas, where he even went through a shipwreck, his novels were on the one hand resounding novels of adventure, if not of the swashbuckler type, but backed up by that deeply rooted Russian philosophical sense of feelings and human emotions. His novels are not simply `yarns' as such; nor are they simply romantic `nouvelles'; nor are they simply autobiographical; they are combination of all these, and much more. Today, among the best pieces of literature ever written in English, we have `Lord Jim' and `Nostromo', two gigantic tales with superb human and humane backgrounds.
Simply watching a film based on a Joseph Conrad novel is not enough to reveal all the invisible, profound thoughts, the real human philosophy of life, how humans think and react under different situations. To really understand this author it is imperative that you slowly read and digest his works. Perhaps you should start with `Almayer's Folly' before embarking on the two previously mentioned masterpieces.
However, `Swept from the Sea', based on his story `Amy Foster' does wonderfully well in not only showing the story, but also giving us a glimpse into the powerful thinking of Joseph Conrad. This point was evidently on Ms. Beeban Kidron's mind when she set out on making this film. Ably helped by her cast, the result is pretty good, even more than good. Vincent Perez is not bad, even quite good at times; Rachel Weisz has made the job of her life in a highly concentrated reading, and the supporting cast like Ian McKellar and Kathy Bates is top-notch stuff. The filming sequences on the Cornish coast in the deep south west of England, especially with the fog curling round the forelands and creeping up the inlets and into the harbours, or in the pouring rain, gives excellent ambientation to the telling of the story. John Barry's musical apportation was the same as always, such that if I had closed my eyes I might well have been watching `Dances With Wolves' (qv); however it fitted in with the proceedings and the photography well enough.
Filmed on the wild coastline of Cornwall, south-west England, now tamed by the August hordes of campers and footpathers, carvanners and English language learners; IMDb lists Pentire Point on the northern coastline, but I cannot help thinking that I saw some village streets such as in Mullion, Coverack or even Mousehole (pronounced "muzzle") on the south coast of that beautiful holidaying area of England. The famous author John Le Carré also has his home down there.
This is a film worth seeing, even for the most pedantic and enthusiastic readers of Conrad's novels such as I, precisely because I think Conrad himself would have been quite pleased with Ms. Kidron's work, with Tim Willocks' very correct adaptation for the screen.
But whatever happens, do not pass up reading and seeing Conrad's Masterpiece, converted into a masterpiece for TV "Nostromo" (1996) (mini) (qv).
Yanko Gooral(played by gorgeous Vincent Perez) is a young man from the Ukraine, who, with some other young men from the Ukraine, decides to go to America.
Amy Foster (played by beautiful Rachel Weisz) is a young Englishwoman, who works as a servant, and helps support her hateful parents and younger siblings. Eventually we discover a shocking secret about Amy and her parents, that explains their warped bitterness.
The ship Yanko is on is destroyed in a storm, flinging him up onto the coast of England; when he wanders ashore, he is at first treated like a lunatic by the fearful inhabitants.
Unable to speak English, Yanko is unable to communicate with anyone and Amy is the only person who treats him with any human kindness.
Eventually he is befriended by a Dr. Kennedy, and another family in the area, learns English, and his life seems to be becoming somewhat better. However the ignorant and bigoted, of which there are many, continue to give both him and Amy a hard time. In fact, the actions of the bigots lead indirectly to what finally happens to this young man.
I didn't pick it up until almost the end of the movie, but in my opinion, there's a bit of an undercurrent of homo-eroticism in the doctor's feelings regarding Yanko--which ties in to the doctor's behavior towards Amy, and leads eventually to an unexpected scene between him and Amy at the conclusion of the film.
"Swept from the Sea" is definitely a beautiful and emotional film. The second half of the film had so much emotions that captured me. It engages me so much that I wanted to know what will happen the next second. Rachel Weisz is brilliant in it, her fear in the hut and the subsequent guilt are played very well. Her lines about her dearest belongings being swept from the sea are touching and thought provoking. It saddens me as it highlights her position as an outcast in the community.
However, I find the first half of the film rather inconsistent. The relationship between different characters are inadequately introduced, so I was completely confused by the shocking revelation about Amy Foster's heritage.
Overall, I enjoyed watching "Swept from the Sea".
This is an old time romance. There are stormy nights and wind swept cliffs. The locals are small-minded. Rachel Weisz shows her quiet sadness acting skills. There is plenty of death and tragedy. The start is too slow. It doesn't need to do the flashforward. It doesn't need to show Yanko's homeland. All it really needs to start are the bodies washing ashore. The style could also be more epic. The stark landscape could have given more atmosphere to the tone. It's an old time romance done in a relatively old time way.
Lots wrong with this movie. Sorry.
The little cottage overlooking the mountains and water is amazing! Something every woman should long to have! This indeed was one of the best love stories I have seen and would recommend it to anyone and everyone, I saw watch it with the one you love....and like every good story of love, there always is a sad ending......
I have heard one reviewer claim that if the character of Amy Foster was as beautiful as Rachel Weisz, absolutely no one would isolate her. Absolute rubbish!! It is indeed isolation to be beautiful -- Beauty often intimidates others. I think that is the bigger verdict for this film.
Beautiful cinematography and sweeping natural romantic storytelling, accented by the superb acting talents of Ms. Weisz and "Queen Margot"'s Vincent Perez make this feature a breathtaking, underrated film.
If you are a Rachel Weisz fan, this has to be her best film so far, and she certainly uses her interesting dark looks to better effect here than in Chain Reaction or the recent Beautiful Creatures. Although her character is largely silent throughout this film, she has enormous screen presence, standing out even amongst this all-star cast.
I won't comment too much on the plot, as I am sure it means different things to different people, but we enjoyed the humanity and liberal views of the doctor and the squire, and the contrast with the ingrained xenophobia of the working men - perhaps a bit trite, since this seemed to us un-Victorian and closer to what you might expect in the present day, but on the other hand maybe it was already in the Joseph Conrad story (I don't know, I haven't read it).
other users have commented on the cinematography; I found it rather flat, for example the weather never seemed to change (very un-British!) and I did not feel the crispness of the seaside atmosphere was captured. The locations mostly looked to me like Yorkshire rather than Cornwall, and there were few long shots (usually difficult because there is an electricity pylon or other modern-day eyesore in the frame, but these problems can be overcome...)
also the accents ... Vincent Perez was particularly good, but Rachel Weisz was too well-spoken for a servant girl (does her accent ever change??) and none of the farmers or fishermen seemed to have a Cornish accent ... except Zoe Wanamaker made a half-decent effort.