Besieged (film)

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Besieged
Besieged ver2.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Bernardo Bertolucci
Produced by Massimo Cortesi
Written by Bernardo Bertolucci
Clare Peploe
Starring Thandie Newton
David Thewlis
Music by Alessio Vlad
Cinematography Fabio Cianchetti
Edited by Jacopo Quadri
Distributed by Fine Line Features
Release dates 1998
Running time 93 min.

Besieged (Italian title: L'assedio) is a 1998 film by Bernardo Bertolucci starring Thandie Newton and David Thewlis.

It is based on the short story "The Siege" by James Lasdun.

Plot[edit]

David Thewlis plays eccentric English pianist and composer Mr. Kinsky, who lives in a very old, but charming villa in Rome. Thandie Newton plays his housemaid Shandurai, an African refugee whose husband is a political prisoner on “the Black continent”. Kinsky falls in love with Shandurai, sends her gifts regularly, for which she is often mad. Once, having presented her ring, he dares to express the love he feels for her, but she refuses him angrily. When he asks her what he should do to make her love him, she shouts, “Get my husband out of jail!” Then Kinsky for the first time realizes that Shandurai is married. Despite this, he still immensely loves her and, in order to help her, he is selling precious things from his home, memories from the past, while Shandurai becomes his muse and inspiration in the present. Finally, he will sell his “essence”, piano, completely giving in to love for the young woman, although she doesn’t return it to him. In one scene, when an African priest asks him why he doesn’t give concerts in public, Kinsky answers, “I am just not good enough.” But everything else suggest that he is, and not only as an artist, but also as a person, which is the fact that even Shandurai will reveal him in the last scenes of the film. As the movie goes on, Shandurai’s feelings, when it comes to her husband, are going from love to loyalty, whereas for Mr. Kinsky, quite conversely. While that second love is growing, she more and more feels and loves the music of piano, finally being completely seduced by it. At the end, she has to choose between love for Englishman and loyalty to her husband, but, it seems that the film ends at the right moment, as if the choice hasn’t happened at all. Thus, a viewer is stuck for good in the very same moment of agony in which Shandurai stays, aware that any decision goes at the expense of her happiness.

Cast[edit]

External links[edit]