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Death And The Maiden [DVD] [1995]


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Product details

  • Actors: Sigourney Weaver, Ben Kingsley, Stuart Wilson, Krystia Mova, Jonathan Vega
  • Directors: Roman Polanski
  • Writers: Ariel Dorfman, Rafael Yglesias
  • Producers: Ariel Dorfman, Bonnie Timmermann, Gladys Nederlander, Jane Barclay, Jean-François Lepetit
  • Format: Full Screen, PAL
  • Language: French, English
  • Subtitles: French
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: R (Restricted) (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Studio: Films Sans Frontiers
  • DVD Release Date: 3 Feb 2002
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0001XJNNG
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 135,630 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

From Amazon.co.uk

Roman Polanski's Death and the Maiden, a film adaptation of Ariel Dorfman's stunning play about the legacy of torture, has more in common with the director's first film, Knife in the Water (with all the latter's unnerving ambiguities about power, sexual transgression and confused alliances among three people) than a straightforward political parable. Sigourney Weaver (a bit underwhelming in this role, but good overall) plays a former political prisoner in an unnamed South American country that has turned democratic. She is married to a government official (fine work by Stuart Wilson) heading up official inquiries into the practice of torture under the former regime. Still shattered by her experience, Weaver's character seeks safe haven in closets of the cliff-top house she shares with her husband. But when her other half returns home with a seemingly nice fellow (a brilliant Ben Kingsley), she believes she recognises the stranger as the interrogator who raped her repeatedly in prison. She violently takes him hostage, and what ensues is a hurricane of fury and confusion, as Kingsley's terrified character denies all accusations, Wilson's guilt-ridden spouse can't decide whom to defend and Weaver turns her psychosexual rage into a weapon of humiliation. Dorfman adapted the screenplay himself, but there's no question that Polanski is leading us down the familiar path of human betrayal and terror that he crossed in such films as Rosemary's Baby, Repulsion and Bitter Moon. At times stunning in its bluntness and compelling to the last, Death and the Maiden literally takes us to the edge of oblivion where--in Polanski's films--the hardest truths always seem to fall into a heretofore unknown perspective.--Tom Keogh, Amazon.com

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Darth Maciek TOP 500 REVIEWER on 27 Sep 2007
Format: DVD
Before going further, let it be said that this is not a movie you will want to watch on a date Friday evening. This is very tough stuff and can be a little depressing. There are only three people playing in this movie (this is an adaptation of a theatrical play): the woman (Sigourney Weaver), her husband (Stuart Wilson) and the guest (Ben Kingsley). It happens in a non precised country in Latin America after the revolution, and the husband was just asked by the newly elected democratic president to chair a commission investigating the crimes of the fallen military regime.

The woman is a former victim of the junta - we know she was imprisoned for years and tortured at many occasions. And then arrives the guest... and his voice seems familiar to the woman. She believes that he is the man who tortured her years ago and decides to make him pay. What happens next? Well, you will have to watch the movie, because all of this was just the beginning...

All the cast is great but Sigourney Weaver is simply incredible. This is one of her most powerful performances ever - if you are a fan, you simply MUST see this movie.

This is a very difficult film. If you search to have some fun and spend a nice evening, it should not be your first choice. But if you need something harder, more difficult, more ambitious, different from the mainstream works, well, here it is. The movie has also a very clear "Polanski touch", which I personally always loved - and that means it is very smart, very surprising, but somehow just a little bit creepy... Be warned, this is powerful stuff, but really, really worth your time.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Gray Mage on 11 Feb 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is an excellent film for those who like strong story lines. I am sure the author, Ariel Dorfman, based his novel on real events. It's about a woman, married to a successful business man, in a now democratic south american country which has
recently emerged from a military dictatorship. By chance she encounters her torturer of years before when she was a political prisoner. He denies her claim but she is adamant that he is guilty and you remain on the edge of your seat from the first confrontation as to whether she will eventually shoot him after she has finished with him. The husband is a more or less helpless by-stander as the action proceeds. Sigourney is brilliant ( as ever! ) as the tortured girl. This story was done as a play on BBC Radio 4 about 25 years ago with Juliet Stevenson as the girl. She acted the part with equal aplomb. This is not a film to everyone's taste but for those concerned about political outrage and attrition, it is very powerful. It contains descriptions of the torture procedures so be warned!!
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By C. Barber on 24 Jun 2002
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
This is a brilliant adaptation of Ariel Dorfmans play of the same title. It's an exceptionally well acted, thought provoking film. I first saw it at a showing to raise money for Amnesty International - and it was a very fitting film for that purpose. It isn't a confortable subject matter - but I recommend this film to anyone, and particularly those with an interest in Human Rights causes.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By basil on 6 July 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Fine writing, good directing and quality acting. A film with some substance. It is difficult to decide if he was guilty or not...see what you think!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By wfc on 22 Sep 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
the acting and story in this film are excellent, as i've seen it once before.
however, i bought this polish copy of the film thinking that the dialogue
would be as the original, ie english and the film would have polish sub titles.
this is not the case. the soundtrack is in english, but cannot be heard because
of a very loud polish narrator.the film is quite impossible to watch because of this narration.
(unless you are polish) english speakers do not buy this copy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Polishguy on 21 Oct 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This film is great. It's based on a play. Maybe it's slightly over-acted but it's superb. But the copy is bad, it's just like VHS. I think this films deserves re-edition. I have seen it once on TV over 10 years ago and I remembered it. There are no subtitles either which is a shame. But it's a great cinema. Dvd cover looks lame too. Definitely needs re-edition. Amen.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Randy F. on 12 Jun 2008
Format: DVD
Roman Polanski has a knack for great film making: "Knife in the Water," "Bitter Moon," and "Repulsion" are just some, thought they share a common thread--that of human corruption and a road you'd never think yourself on. "Death and the Maiden" is no different in this respect, though this is one of his more brilliant productions. While Sigourney Weaver is a perfect neurotic wife who thinks she recognizes a former torturer of hers (that her husband brings home, nevertheless), it is Ben Kingsley (the alledged torturer) who steals the show. Not since his "Ghandi" have I been so riveted to the screen. Watching this, you'll think he's just great, but wait for the last fifteen minutes of the film and he will blow your mind completely. The camera stays on him as he transforms himself into five or six different people. Man, does this ending pack a wallop! One of my favorite all-time movies, this one, along with "Knife in the Water" are at the top of my list.
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