Death and the Maiden

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

35mm print

“In a newly democratised South American country, Escobar (Stuart Wilson) heads a commission investigating the abuse of political prisoners. One such prisoner was his wife Paulina (Sigourney Weaver). When one night Escobar comes home late, having been given a lift by seemingly liberal Dr Miranda (Ben Kingsley), Paulina is convinced that their guest is the tormentor who 15 year ago subjected her to sexual humiliation and violence. Escobar feels duty-bound to defend the stranger from the woman he loves, but who may be lying, even insane. In filming Ariel Dorfman’s adaptation of his own stage hit, Polanski wisely never opens out the action from the remote clifftop house. In keeping things claustrophobic, close-up and ambivalent, he heightens the suspense (not to mention the sexual tension) and allows for a fluent, lucid exploration of notions of justice, responsibility, forgiveness, and corruption by power. At the same time, the three powerful, sensitively nuanced performances ensure that the characters never become mere mouthpieces for an ethical enquiry.” – Time Out (London)

  • Country UK/USA/France
  • Rating R
  • Year 1994
  • Running Time 103 minutes
  • Director Roman Polanski

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