In New York, the money-driven dealer Dean Corso is a rare-books expert and partner of Bernie, who owns a bookstore. He is contacted by the renowned collector of books about the devil Boris Balkan, who has just acquired the rare The Nine Gates of the Kingdom of Shadows from the collector Andrew Telfer, to verify whether his book is authentic or a forgery. Balkan explains that the book was written by the writer Aristide Torchia, in 1666, with Lucifer and he was burned at the stake with his entire work. There are only three exemplars of The Nine Gates and in accordance with the legend, its nine engravings form a riddle to conjure the devil. The skeptical Corso accepts the assignment and has to fly to Sintra, Portugal, and Paris, France, to contact the owners Victor Fargas and Baroness Kessler and find the genuine exemplar for Balkan. Meanwhile, he asks Bernie to hide the rare book. Before traveling to Europe, the widow Liana Telfer wants to retrieve the book and has sex with Corso, but ...Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The Don Quixote that Corso buys at the beginning of the film is the very famous Joaquin Ibarra edition, published in 1780, which is generally considered as the best, and most beautiful one. He also mentions the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili (Venice, 1499) printed by Francesco Colonna, dubbed "the most beautiful book ever printed". You can take a look at its amazing illustrations on the net. See more »
Front license plates in Switzerland don't have flags on them. See more »
It's an impressive collection. You have some very rare editions here. Are you sure you want to sell them all?
Old Man's Son:
They're of no use to father. Not anymore. Not since he's been this way. His library was his whole world. Now it's just a painful memory.
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This is a first rate film by a cinematic genius. There is nothing un-Polanski about this movie. If you persist in thinking that there is, then your understanding of his genius is limited! How many people actually understood this film??? Not many. And I don't think it is THAT difficult to figure out what occurs at the end. Even people who rated it high failed to grasp the ending, which suggests that they failed to grasp it at all! Most people don't know why they like a movie that they see. And those who do know why and can put it into words are usually giving the criteria for refined entertainment, not art!! Polanski is a true genius, and hence, his films are by definition not likely to be appreciated by very many. Which is not to say that his work is an exercise in intellectual acrobatics. Not at all. I would expect that someone who has seen his other films would understand (i.e., the fearless vampire killers is a good one to compare this one to..), but alas, people jump on the critical bandwagon and say 'this is not polanski's finest'...WHATEVER! You have to be approaching his genius in order to see what perfect art he produces EVERY time he makes a film (what other kind of craftsperson could you imagine wakes up one day and forgets their craft? None! So don't be a fool and underestimate the true film artist!) Okay, enough ranting. THe ending: THere are two parallel levels of meaning to be interpreted in this film. THere is the superficial storyline, which obviously most people didn't not care to delve beneath. And then there is what is really going on. Johnny is living out his destiny, with fate (the blonde) to guide him and ensure that he gets through all of the gates. Johnny becomes greedy and ultimately kills to get his hands on the engravings. Johnny 'consumates' his commitment to the darkside when he finally beds the blonde devil-incarnate/devil's helper/fate itself, and although Johnny doesn't realize it, she is the gateway, and he has just gone through, so to speak. The last engraving being a rip-off, and Johnny's being guided to the real one in such an obvious way should tell you that this is not the 'real story' of how Johnny gets through. Also notice that Satan's helper (blonde) is in the engraving. It was Johnny's destiny to actualize each engraving, and be the dark prince. WHy him? Because he is so utterly naive, committed, and greedily curious...he actually believes that he is doing the work of figuring everything out... This is not a film for the general public who were probably disappointed at the lack of special effects or something. Polanski's films are not 'artsy' or 'intellectual' but nevertheless they are not going to be appreciated by everyone. He is subtle...a true genius.
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