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Esther Kahn (2000)

Not Rated | | Drama, Romance | 4 October 2000 (France)
A Jewish girl in nineteenth century London, dreams of becoming a stage actress.


Arnaud Desplechin
2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Summer Phoenix ... Esther Kahn
Ian Holm ... Nathan Quellen
Fabrice Desplechin Fabrice Desplechin ... Philippe Haygard
Akbar Kurtha Akbar Kurtha ... Samuel Kahn
Frances Barber ... Rivka Kahn
László Szabó ... Ytzhok Kahn
Hilary Sesta Hilary Sesta ... Buba
Claudia Solti ... Mina Kahn
Berna Raif ... Becky Kahn
Paul Regan Paul Regan ... Joel
Arnold Brown Arnold Brown ... Rabbi
Leon Lissek ... Theatre manager
Ian Bartholomew Ian Bartholomew ... Norton
Samantha Lavelle Samantha Lavelle ... Christel
Paul Ritter ... Alman, the photographer


A Jewish girl in nineteenth century London, dreams of becoming a stage actress.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Romance


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Chosen by "Les Cahiers du cinéma" (France) as one of the 10 best pictures of 2000 (#01) See more »


Nathan Quellen: Because what has to happen, is that every step you take has to be more unbelievable than the step before. E-Every step has to be - well it has to have an idea behind it, an idea t-that is so complex, it would take, 10 philosophers just to decipher it. Each step has to stretch like a rope - in the audiences mind. Until they can't bare it anymore and they wan to cry out, "Careful Esther you're going to break it".
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Referenced in I'm Still Here (2010) See more »


The Little Red Lark
[by] Reynaldo Hahn
Performed by Huesyin Sermet and Kun Woo Paik
courtesy of Naïve Auvidis
See more »

User Reviews

Don't bother
9 September 2004 | by jenn976-1See all my reviews

Sleepwalking, dead, boring, an endurance test for the audience - all have been said before so why am I adding to the comments I agree with? There is this:

"...it isn't before a man treats her badly that she realizes on stage, that she has talent and that she connects with the audience and emerges as a stronger human being."

This must be the reviewer's imagination talking. One can tell that this is the point of the movie that its makers are trying to make but they failed. Utterly. The only reason I kept it going in the machine was to see if they could redeem themselves. But they did not. It's a very big disappointment. There is no connection with the audience - either in the theater's audience inside the story itself or the movie audience watching this.

Too many close-ups, just way too many. I'd call it possibly a workshop on close-ups - if you're in the business. Otherwise, why waste money on this? It's just pointless.

"the film never reveals more than it needs to."

Honestly, it reveals nothing.

And yes, why was so much money thrown at this movie? I seriously wonder if the backers needed to lose money for tax purposes.

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France | UK



Release Date:

4 October 2000 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Szenvedélyes színdarab See more »

Filming Locations:

London, England, UK


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,124, 3 March 2002

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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