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Illuminata [DVD]

Leo Bassi , Henri Behar , John Turturro    DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Actors: Leo Bassi, Henri Behar, Maurizio Benazzo, Fernando Bolles, Katherine Borowitz
  • Directors: John Turturro
  • Writers: John Turturro, Brandon Cole
  • Producers: John Turturro, Carol Cuddy, Ellen Dinerman Little, Giovanni Di Clemente, John Penotti
  • Format: 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 - 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: R (Restricted) (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Run Time: 119 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005AKTQ

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
45 of 47 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Illuminata - well worth watching. 13 April 2009
By Lynn999
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I sometimes like to order a DVD without knowing exactly what it is about, simply taking a chance because of the title, the cast, or something about the cover. This may ofcourse lead to disappointments, but it may also, in the case of this film, lead to a wonderful surprise.

There are lots of familiar faces, some have more screentime than others yet they are all equally contributing to the story and the atmosphere of the film. Astergourd (Beverly D'Angelo) and Pallenchio (Donal McCann) are owners of a small theatre, who are doing their best to keep things afloat. When they suddenly find themselves with a gap in the evening's programme, the playwright Tuccio (John Turturro) seizes the opportunity to introduce the crowd to a preview of his play Illuminata. Unfortunately critics such as the unforgettable Bevalaqua (Christopher Walken), who has a great little speech about things he doesn't like, are negative about it, and so Astergourd decides on a play that has already proven it's worth. This sets off a flurry of activities and intrigue where those involved with this theatre all do their bit to persuade the powers that be to stage Illuminata.

Susan Sarandon is wonderful as the vain actress Celimene who disguises her love of herself as her love of art. Katherine Borowitz has some great scenes as Tuccio's love Rachel. There are many more but I cannot name them all, nor will I go into detail as I don't want to spoil things for you. All I can say is that this film, at times funny and at times poignant, is in my opinion definitely worth watching.

Why, might you ask, if I so enjoyed this film, did I give it 4 stars, not 5? Well, that is because I would have enjoyed it more had I been able to follow all of it with the assistence of subtitles.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars YOU MUST SEE THIS 18 Aug 2010
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I purchased this item mainly because I am a fan of John Turturro.
I was knocked out by the storyline and cast of this beautifully crafted film.
It is both funny and sad as characters evolve within a Feydeau style farce as love and rejection are intertwined within the tale. Excellent cameos by Screen and theatre Giants hold you mesmerised by their talent.
I would recommend this film to anyone.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars illuminata 7 Nov 2011
By Laban
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I bought this DVD because I wanted to see a younger Rufus Sewell and I was not disappointed. In this DVD he shows his whole capacity and is acting very well as Dominique in an interesting story. We know by now that he can play all kinds of caracters.
It was interesting to follow the theatre company and see how they rehearsed their plays and sometimes how they directed each other. It was also funny to see that they played the libretto to Cavallerina Rusticana by Mascagni. In the whole the DVD was much more interesting than I thought it should be. Their discussions about their repertoire as A Dollhouse and Shakespeare was interesting as well as how they showed how easy and dangerous it can be to mix together a character with ones own private life. I know from the beginning that there should not be any sub-titles so I am afraid I missed some details in the story. Nevertheless I liked and appreciated the DVD very much.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Illuninata 29 April 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
What an odd movie - it intrigued me, but I did not understand it at all - nevertheless something different
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.8 out of 5 stars  20 reviews
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A film experience worth repeating 19 Jan 2000
By "melist" - Published on
I feel it is only just to give fair warning to those viewers not familiar with the original play. Illuminata can not be confined to a single genre. Just when have laughed so hard you begin to cry, Illuminata will make a fast moving 180-degree turn on you.
With the culmination of artists in this film, it was enticing to see how they all fit together to bring an entertaining view of the theater. The answer is...quite grand. I agree with my countryman regarding the performances of Mr. Walken and Ms. Turturro. Susan Sarandon also plays a wonderful aging actress who can not publicly face the fact that she is no longer able to play a nineteen year old virgin. (An audience can only have so much imagination;) yet you are reminded by the smirks on the faces of the male audience members, she's still got it. Ms. Borowitz was inspiring in her role as the independent outwardly strong woman who can not live with out love no matter the cost. Rufus Sewell is the ever-handsome, insecure male (Dominque) who hides his insecurity with an appearance of egotism. As everyone knows, someone eventually must show his or her true colors; and Dominique allows the viewer just a glimpse of his vulnerability.
There is not one character that is forgettable and each plays a vital role. This is not a movie to watch just once if not just for the great one-liners. Granted, this is not a movie for everyone, but it is a movie that will be on my mind for some time to come.
23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This is a flawed masterpiece. 16 Oct 1999
By Dan Man - Published on
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OK, let me make this succinct.... John Turturro has turned out an unusual film that deals with an acting company in an Italian town at the turn of the century. The movie, in true Pirandellian fashion, slides in and out of illusion and reality and focuses on love as the greatest of human foibles and mysteries. Turturro is fine in the lead role as the playwright, but his real-life wife must take top honors for her exquisite and unforgettable performance as a mature and sensitive stage actress. Christopher Walken is hilarious in the role of an aging, homosexual drama critic who, accused of liking nothing at all (actually he likes young men), insists that here are indeed many things he likes: "...chocolate, Caravaggio, revenge..." The film is thoughtful and often incisive, with, regrettably, occasional lapses into the grotesque, which will turn off some viewers. The great scenes, however, will linger in the mind long after the tawdry aspects of this incomparable film are but a dream. Highly recommended to anyone interested in the meaning of theater, in the illusion of stagecraft, in fine acting, in excellent and original writing for the screen. "Bravo" to Turturro for putting this ocular feast together; "Brava" to his extraordinary wife; and "Bravissimi" to all who participated in the creation of this film. And by the way: how refreshing to watch a distinguished film about Italians without a single mention of the Mafia!
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An intensely moving work of art 21 Jan 2000
By Phil Clapham - Published on
Illuminata is nothing short of glorious: a warm, intelligent film that is beautifully staged, acted, directed and filmed. There are many standouts in the cast. Susan Sarandon is wonderful as an aging diva, and Jon Turturro delivers a fragile character who is both sad and humane. But the movie is carried by Katherine Borowitz, whose mesmerizing performance is simple, elegant and poised. This is that rare commodity, a film that takes huge risks dramatically and emotionally, and they all pay off. It combines the best of theater and of film, and the result is an intensely moving work of art.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars light and intense 16 July 2000
By alienorhuman - Published on
Humm, it seems that my fellow Illuminata watchers have strongly bent one way or the other. I saw the movie over a year ago, so I can't be descriptive as far as plot twists go, but I found it very moving, tender, slow-moving and intense, with remarkable acting performances. It is true indeed it played on different levels, which I find added strength to the whole, instead of confusion; why should we have to choose ONE genre and stick to it? God, how boring and unlife-like!
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars good and bad 5 Jun 2000
By anna - Published on
I still have mixed feelings about this movie. At times it becomes rather bumbling, and a bit hard to follow as it jumps between subplots. You never really, truly get to know any of the characters on more than a surface level--although this could have been Turturro's point: audiences only become acquainted with actors' parts and their public images, not the real people. As for good points, Illuminata has a pretty great cast. Susan Sarandon is good and Christopher Walken is delightful, but I was especially taken with Rufus Sewell and Katherine Borowitz. When they (along with Georgina Cates) finally perform Tuccio's (Turturro) play Illuminata, it was so tender and beautifully done that that one scene pretty much made up for any of the movie's shortcomings, as far as I was concerned. Illuminata is certainly an interesting movie, and despite any complaints I have about it, I don't regret seeing it. There are some truly lovely moments.
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