Tess

Tess

Blu-ray Disc - 2014
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A strong-willed peasant girl is sent by her father to the estate of some local aristocrats to capitalize on a rumor that their families are from the same line. This fateful visit commences an epic narrative of sex, class, betrayal, and revenge.
Publisher: [New York] : The Criterion Collection, [2014]
Edition: Director-approved special edition
Branch Call Number: MOVIE TES
Characteristics: video file,Blu-Ray,region A,rda
digital,optical,surround,5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio,rda
1 videodisc (171 min.) : sound, color ; 4 3/4 in

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m
marieloudavril
Mar 09, 2018

This is definitively a classic movie of his time that we want to watch again. Pride surely comes before fall in this saga of mistrust, emotional manipulations that will have an effect on the life of this strong will young girl and the destiny of her and her family.

n
Nursebob
Feb 28, 2018

Pride necessarily goeth before the fall…repeatedly…in Roman Polanski’s beautifully photographed, emotionally muted adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s 19th century weeper. When a drunken penniless field worker discovers that he is related to a now defunct line of medieval aristocrats the news doesn’t bring him any riches but it does spell the beginning of the end for his eldest daughter, Theresa. With a palette of earth tones and shadowed pastels, cinematographer Geoffrey Unsworth’s vision unfold like a series of watercolour landscapes while Phillipe Sarde’s score tints them all with sadness. A strawberry becomes forbidden fruit, a threshing machine resembles Leviathan, and scenes of Tess peering through doorways and windowpanes reflect her attempts at moving beyond her station. Unfortunately Nastassja Kinski’s somnolent performance lacks the fire one would expect from such a character. Even though it is a tale of Victorian rigidity, class hypocrisy, and the sorrow of women, Kinski still mewls and pouts like a sullen puppy thus dampening much of the film’s emotional punches. Still a worthy example of literary filmmaking however, and the fact Polanski bookends it with two scenes of ancient British paganism lends an added dimension while at the same time gently thumbing a nose at the era’s pompous and ineffectual clergy.

m
ms_mustard
Nov 12, 2016

one of the best of the class of slow films.

I watched Malick's Days of Heaven recently, which is somewhat reminiscent of Tess, and I think Tess is the better of the two.

I've never been tempted to read Hardy but greatly enjoyed the retelling.

not betrayed by its 37 years

As beautifully photographed and finely acted as "Tess" may have been, at a gruelling 3-hour running time, its pace was far too passive for it to securely hold one's rapt attention right through to its tragic ending.

Set during the Victorian period (in Dorset, England), "Tess" was adapted for the screen (by director Roman Polanski) from Thomas Hardy's 1891 novel, Tess of the D'Urbervilles.

The sensuously beautiful Nastassja Kinski (at 18) played the title role of the strong-willed peasant girl, Tess.

Events in the story are set into motion innocently enough when a local clergyman informs a simple farmer, John Durbeyfield, that the town historian has linked his lineage to actual descendants of the D'Urbervilles, a noble family whose ancestry goes all the way back to William the Conqueror.

"Tess", which was filmed in 1979, won Oscars for cinematography, art direction and costume design.

j
jessadam2
Jun 08, 2015

As 34 years goes by. Nastassja Kinski's Beauty remains Timeless. I fall in Love with her all over again for 3hours and 6min. She is 19 in this one. I was 19 in June of 1981when I went to see Tess some 6 to 7 times. It still remains my most Theater watched movie. This was Roman's Sharon fav.book. He dedicates it to her in the films beginning. The calender of 1981 matches perfectly to this years.... June 8,2015 3:08p.

f
finn75
Nov 17, 2014

Lush, beautiful and tragic. Makes you glad to be born in this century.

s
Salubri
Jul 12, 2014

Acting was decent, but I found this to be a rather slow movie. It could have been so much better.

d
DASTardlyGal
Oct 02, 2012

I read the book and found it so boring, tedious, and I was cursing Tess for her stupidity, although, i had realize the time period she lived in. Was really wanting to see Roman Polanski's version of it, found it to be almost word for word from the novel, but I found the movie beautiful and a movie I would watch again and again. Loved the movie MORE than the book, go figure. I am really glad that Mr. Polanski stuck so closely to the book and didn't stray like so many books turned to movies tend to do. Very lovely movie. Wish Sharon Tate had lived and maybe she could of gotten to play the part of Tess because she's the reason Mr. Polanski made the movie.

abbeysong Jun 28, 2012

I can't agree with ausnos (May 9) on this one. Hardy's "Tess of the D'Urbervilles" is one of my favourite novels of all time -- so tactile, so utterly sensual -- and Polanski's rendition of it is unsurpassed. When I re-read "Tess" a couple of months ago, I found it hard to separate my reading of it from the images in this decades-old film, although I'd watched another version more recently. I HAVE heard that the transfer into DVD was problematic (sound quality being one of the issues) and I haven't yet seen the DVD. I plan to as soon as possible.

a
ausnos
May 09, 2012

I have not read this book, but whilst watching the film I was expecting "more" from it. For example, Tess just didn't seem real to me. It sounded as if she were mumbling her words. I don't know if its in her character to speak like this but the act grew tired on me. Secondly, some scenes felts rushed. The seduction of Tess by Alec did not feel intense, and the pregnancy and birth of their child was not depicted. Furthermore, the child's death and the affects it had on Tess was at a total loss due to its weak depiction. I know this is a powerful story but how Roman Polanski chose to show it was much too weak caliber.

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