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L'assedio (1998)

R | | Drama, Romance | 21 May 1999 (USA)
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When an African dictator jails her husband, Shandurai goes into exile in Italy, studying medicine and keeping house for Mr. Kinsky, an eccentric English pianist and composer. She lives in ... See full summary »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Thandie Newton ... Shandurai
David Thewlis ... Jason Kinsky
Claudio Santamaria ... Agostino
John C. Ojwang John C. Ojwang ... Singer
Massimo De Rossi Massimo De Rossi ... Patient
Cyril Nri Cyril Nri ... Priest
Paul Osul Paul Osul ... Piano Buyer
Veronica Lazar ... Piano Buyer
Gian Franco Mazzoni Gian Franco Mazzoni ... Piano Buyer (as Gianfranco Mazzoni)
Maria Mazetti Di Pietralata Maria Mazetti Di Pietralata ... Piano Buyer
Andrea Quercia Andrea Quercia ... Child pianist at concert
Alexander Menis Alexander Menis ... Child at concert
Natalia Mignosa Natalia Mignosa ... Child at concert
Lorenzo Mollica Lorenzo Mollica ... Child at concert
Elena Perino Elena Perino ... Child at concert
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Storyline

When an African dictator jails her husband, Shandurai goes into exile in Italy, studying medicine and keeping house for Mr. Kinsky, an eccentric English pianist and composer. She lives in one room of his Roman palazzo. He besieges her with flowers, gifts, and music, declaring passionately that he loves her, would go to Africa with her, would do anything for her. "What do you know of Africa?," she asks, then, in anguish, shouts, "Get my husband out of jail!" The rest of the film plays out the implications of this scene and leaves Shandurai with a choice. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

watching tv | jail | english | love | gift | See All (109) »

Taglines:

Touched by Genius. Cursed by Madness. Blinded by Love.

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for brief sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Italy | UK

Language:

English | Italian | Swahili

Release Date:

21 May 1999 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Asediada See more »

Filming Locations:

Nairobi, Kenya See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$159,289, 23 May 1999, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$2,032,621, 1 August 1999
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

It was Bernardo Bertolucci's wife Clare Peploe who suggested to him that he try adapting James Lasdun's short story. See more »


Soundtracks

Full Option
Written by Pépé Kallé and Papy Tex
Performed by Empire Bakuba
Courtesy of Babi International (SACEM)
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User Reviews

 
But now I've said too much?
9 July 1999 | by iamSee all my reviews

What to say? Besieged is a timeless, unabashedly romantic masterpiece. Poetic and original, this movie studies two people locked in a slow dance of seduction. Based on James Lasdun's short story, "The Siege", the film reveals that love need not not be reduced to self-satisfaction and immediate gratification or communication to trifling words. Can love transcend ostensibly insurmountable objects before the principle characters (such as the dizzying height of the spiral staircase)? Perhaps. One thing is for sure: this film will strike a resounding chord in your heart! Not only does the glorious music speak volumes of the character and background of Mr. Kinsky, a wealthy European pianist, and his live-in housekeeper, Shandurai, it also pitch-perfectly articulates feelings too buried for either to verbalize. Indeed, when used as a medium to express emotions, music is much more effective than words. In the few instances they make eye contact, words seem to be superfluous. With minimal dialogue, it's incredible how Shandurai and Kinsky find ways to communicate and impact the other's life. The collision of their two worlds is celebrated in the hauntingly beautiful piece Kinsky composes for Shandurai,"Ostinato". The sounds and the deafening silences, the sights and the suspicious disappearances are all exquisitely executed by Bertolucci. With Claire Peploe, he fashions a tale that is at once simple and profound. Bringing the story to life is a powerhouse cast. Thandie Newton as the beleaguered and reticent Shandurai is a revelation. David Thewlis as the lovelorn, crafty, idiosyncratic ideograph Kinsky is way beyond "good enough". His portrayal of a man who achieves liberation through sacrifice is captivating. Also marvellous are the performances of John C. Ojwang as the griot and Claudio Santamaria as the buddy. Unlike the majority of movies that will be released this year, this one will etch an indelible impression on your mind and spirit. But now I've said too much?


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