Tess is surely among the most beautiful films that Roman Polanski has made. The director, shooting in the French countryside in Normandy and Brittany, traded the intentionally claustrophobic aesthetic of so many of his films (Repulsion, Rosemary’s Baby) for an expansive, widescreen visual sense, giving this detailed version of Thomas Hardy’s classic book Tess of the d’Urbervilles the feel of a true movie epic. The director was assisted in visualizing Tess by a duo of incredible cinematographers: Geoffrey Unsworth (2001: A Space Odyssey), who died during shooting, and Ghislain Cloquet (Au hasard Balthazar), who replaced him. The two would end up sharing an Oscar for their work on Tess. Watch a beautifully shot scene from the film below, in which the peasant girl Tess (Nastassja Kinski, in her first major role) resists the charms of the nobleman Alec d'Urberville (Leigh Lawson).
Memories of a Martial-Arts Master
In this outtake from an interview with Shangkuan Ling-fung, the Taiwanese wuxia icon gets nostalgic about her encounters with Bruce Lee.
How Ron Shelton Did Justice to the “Talking Sport”
The director of Bull Durham explains the ins and outs of bringing baseball to the screen and why Kevin Costner is the finest athletic actor he’s worked with.
The Birth of a Hollywood Bad Girl
The product of consummate artistry and savvy promotion, Marlene Dietrich’s salacious image opened up erotic frontiers for a generation of moviegoers.
The Hope That Fueled Bowling for Columbine
How much can a film turn the tide on American violence? Michael Moore and archivist Carl Deal reflect on the moral urgency that gave rise to one of the most talked-about documentaries of all time.