Movie InfoSet in the contrasting climates of a politically-charged Africa and the tranquil confines of an enchanting Roman villa, Besieged is a smoldering love story that bridges the gap between two very different worlds. Thandie Newton stars as the luminous Shandurai, a young African woman who has left her homeland, after having witnessed her husband's brutal abduction at the hands of an oppressive government. Disenchanted with her country, Shandurai surfaces in Rome at the home of an eccentric English musician, Mr. Kinsky (David Thewlis). Shandurai works as a maid for Mr. Kinsky in exchange for room and board while she studies medicine at the local university. The two have almost nothing in common, yet she hopelessly enchants him. The depth of his devotion will challenge the delicate balance between desire and sacrifice, sentimentalism and need, as old and new worlds meet and meld in this daring and inventive story. … More
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Critic Reviews for Besieged
Bertolucci and co-writer Clare Peploe seem intent on deconstructing the story's interesting elements at every turn, substituting woolliness for clarity, atmospherics for real emotion and an often condescending, armchair-liberal naivete for real political
It's a film about the limits of art, about civilization at this moment of flux, and about a gentle connection between a man and a woman.
This is a deeply engrossing, often exquisite film by someone who knows visuals. It's sensory, sensual, handmade.
Given Bertolucci's impish leanings, the self-referential sequences may merely be gags. If so, they're among a half-dozen others that backfire.
A film that combines a stunning sensuality with a rigorous economy.
Made for Italian TV, this modestly scaled, intimate drama about the relationship between a British musician and his African housekeeper is well acted by Thandie Newton and David Thewlis.
Maddening on many fronts and strangely wordless, Bernardo Bertolucci's purported love story breaks no new ground.
Bertolucci conjures magic once again.
One of the most accessible films to come from Bertolucci and shows the filmmakers deep understanding of his craft.
Despite a vividly expressive performance by Newton, the lack of urgency equates to a lack of intimacy.
A thinking audience's romance.
An aesthetic treat for art film lovers. Everyone else should stay away.
A film full of hope, full of heart and full of simple rewards for the audience lucky enough to find it.
Bertolucci and co-writer Clare Peploe tell an intimate and painstaking tale that's complemented by exquisitely restrained acting.
Does this allusive, delicate story work? The answer is yes, provided you are sympathetic with what Bertolucci is trying to do.
Audience Reviews for Besieged
A graceful, visually exquisite piece that (on a second watch) works for me despite its flaws. The languid nature of the narrative is obviously a detractor as far as audience connection goes, but it works to establish an enigmatic presence for both of the main characters. The story has a poetic sensibility that allows us to discard some of our expectations as to what the movie is going to deliver. David Thewlis is brilliant, as always, and Thandie Newton is very strong too. That's saying a lot, since the actors have very little dialogue to establish their performances with. Watch it once, think about it, and then watch it again.More
Besieged was an useless combination of political and romantic drama, wandering back and forth between the two leads that never really had reached each other. The movie had an interesting beginning with the imprisonment of Shandurai's husband, but the story gradually fell apart after that. There was no emotional force driving the events in the movie and there was never any satisfying realization of Shandurai's sadness. It was fine performance by Thandie Newton in the lead, but Bertolucci's lack to balance out the two halves of the story, stopped the characters from reaching their full potential, and so we could not seen a fascinating drama. Too bad.More
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