A remarkably restrained Julian Sands stars in Paolo and Vittorio Taviani’s beautifully photographed adaptation of Leo Tolstoy's novel about an 18th century Italian nobleman whose life is shattered by betrayal.
Humble but ambitious Baron Sergio Giuramondo (Sands) has always wanted to serve King Charles (Rudiger Vogler), who takes Sergio under his wing and arranges his marriage to Duchess Cristina (Nastassja Kinski). But before their wedding, Christina confesses that she and the King were once lovers, and the devastated Sergio abruptly runs away and returns to his childhood home, where he decides to become a priest. But once again, Sergio’s talents catch the eye of a higher up, this time a Bishop (Geppy Geijeses) who wants Sergio to serve parishioners of higher status, including the King and Duchess Christina. Sergio eventually withdraws to a hillside sanctuary to live the austere life of a monk. But he develops a reputation as a healer, which quickly grows to ridiculous proportions. Visitors beg him to perform miracles, seductive women test his sexual willpower and his peaceful home becomes a circus. As Sergio's faith in God and love for solitude grows weary, he sets out for uncertainty of the open world.
Epic in scope but intimate in story, the Taviani brothers' film beautifully convey an inner world through powerful direction and stunning photography: a contemplative young Sergio stands beside a tree as a single white flower falls from the sky; a stunning white dove flutters in its cage; a wall separates a tempted man and a beautiful woman in a stark room. Kinski is as seductive and alluring as ever, but Sands is the film's great surprise. Though he often overplays his roles to the point of parody, he's simply terrific here, handling a weighty and taxing role role he's in almost every scene with openness and courage.
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- Released: 1990
- Rating: NR
- Review: A remarkably restrained Julian Sands stars in Paolo and Vittorio Taviani’s beautifully photographed adaptation of Leo Tolstoy's novel about an 18th century Italian nobleman whose life is shattered by betrayal. Humble but ambitious Baron Sergio Giuramondo… (more)