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).
Digging Through Movie History at Chaplin’s Studios
Film scholar Craig Barron gives us a tour of the studios on whose back lot Charlie Chaplin built the set for his final film of the silent era, The Circus.
Career Women in the Land of Lubitsch
Critics Molly Haskell and Farran Smith Nehme talk about the highly idiosyncratic heroines who populate Ernst Lubitsch’s comedies, including the protagonist of his final film, Cluny Brown.
Ritwik Ghatak’s Pursuit of Truth Beyond Realism
Acclaimed Indian filmmakers Saeed Akhtar Mirza and Kumar Shahani discuss how the Bengali master mixed expressionism and naturalism in his devastating domestic tragedy The Cloud-Capped Star.