Esther (1999 film)
DVD release cover
|Based on||Book of Esther|
|Screenplay by||Sandy Niemand|
|Directed by||Raffaele Mertes|
F. Murray Abraham
|Theme music composer||Ennio Morricone|
|Country of origin||United States
|Running time||90 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Five Mile River Films
Esther, also known as The Bible: Esther, is a 1999 American-Italian-German television film directed by Raffaele Mertes and starring Louise Lombard as Queen Esther, F. Murray Abraham as Mordechai, Jürgen Prochnow as Haman, Thomas Kretschmann as King Achashverosh and Ornella Muti as Vashti.
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Hadassah (Louise Lombard), a beautiful Jewish girl, lives with her cousin (and legal guardian) Mordechai (F. Murray Abraham) in Shushan, the capital of Persia. After King Achashverosh (Thomas Kretschmann) deposes Queen Vashti (Ornella Muti) of her throne, because of her refusal to attend a feast in her royal crown , to show her beauty, and for ridiculing him and his officers. He then decrees an order to choose a new queen. Guards then go to the surrounding places of the castle and capture virgins. Mordechai attempts to hide Hadassah but she is captured by the guards. The guards allow her to say farewell to her kinsmen.at the insistence of her cousin Mordechai, Hadassah changes her name to Esther, meaning "hidden", he also tells her to forget her name, but not to forget that she was a Jew. They are taken to the first harem, where they are placed and sorted under the custody of Hagai (Phil Davies), a royal eunuch in charge of the first harem , Esther finds a girl crying and comforts her. Chagai asks which nationality Esther is from ,her answer frustrates him and he sends her to be placed. after a length of time , after a lesson in royal etiquette , while everyone is busy preparing herself for the king, one of the girls tells Esther that when it is their time to go to the king they may ask for anything they want to take with them. Esther asks her new maid-servant, Mimouna (Natasha Williams)about what to expect from the king , and asks how it feels to make love to a man and Mimouna replies that it depends on the man. a few nights later , it is time for Esther to present herself to the king , mordechai gives some money to a eunuch , and we are shown how they prepare the royal bed chamber for the event. that night, at Esther's first meeting with the king , achashverosh tests Esther about what she has learnt from the harem and life, then asks her name and unveils her. A rose falls. The king asks her if she picked it for the king and she answers no. The king then tells her she is different from the others and makes love to her. The next day after being brought to the Queens Chambers, in the second harem to be dressed like a queen , Esther is brought to the throne room and ceremonially crowned queen. a few nights later, Mordechai hears a plot that Bigtan and Teresh are planning against the king and reports to Esther. Esther then exposes the plot to the king, and the men are sentenced to death.
The next day, Haman (Jürgen Prochnow) presents a gift to the king. Memuchan (Umberto Orsini), a trusted man of the king, tells him that his gifts will get him nowhere. Next day, Memuchan dies and King Achashverosh mourns for three days. Esther requests to be received but the king takes no heed. Haman comes and tells the king to govern but the king takes no heed again. Esther leaves and believes she has lost the king's favor. The king then appoints Haman as lord chamberlain. The next day, Esther calls Chagai to her chambers and asks him what she should do to win back the king's favor. Chagai answers that she must be patient. meanwhile Mordechai again refuses to bow to haman, That same night, Haman's wife zeresh , family and servants tell him that Mordechai does not respect him, this angers Haman they suggest he builds a gallows 50 cubits high to hang him on. Haman then goes to the king and tells him a lie about the Jews. The king believes him and gives him his signet ring which gives Haman the right to decree a rule that even the king cannot hold back. Haman sends a decree to all provinces that they should annihilate all Jews within their borders . At hearing this decree, Mordechai dresses himself in sackcloth and ashes and mourns outside the palace gates. Mimouna informs Esther and Esther orders her servant, Hatach (Cristopher Ettridge), to give Mordechai clothes. Mordechai refuses them. Esther orders Hatach to ask Mordechai what afflicts him. Mordechai gives the letter of decree to Esther and tells Esther to go before the king. Esther reads the letter and cries because it is forbidden to go before the king without being called. Mimouna reminds her that if the king hold out his golden scepter her life will be spared. Esther tells Mordechai to gather all the Jews and to fast for three days on her behalf. After three days, she dresses in the royal robes of state, that she was first crowned in, and goes before the king. The king holds out his scepter and asks her her petition and request and promises her that it shall be granted. Esther asks Haman and the king to go to a banquet she has prepared in her quarters. the king grants her request. At the banquet, the king again asks Esther her petition and request. Esther promises the king that she will tell her petition and request if they go to the banquet tomorrow again.
The next day achashverosh wakes up after having a nightmare , the royal eunuchs read the chronincal and find mordchai wasn’t rewarded for the incident with bigtan and teresh, just then haman comes to ask permission for the gallows (after he already built it) the king waylays him and asks what to do for a man the king wishes to honor. haman thinks its him , and gives his ideas, he's told to do it for mordechai , he does it then returns to his house in shame his wife says he is done for, then the royal escort comes for him. at the second banquet, the king asks the same question and she asks to spare her life and the lives of her people. The king asks her who would do such a thing. She exploits Haman. The king, enraged, goes to his garden. Haman asks Esther to spare his life. The king comes back and tells his guards to hang Haman and gets his signet ring. The king appoints Mordechai as his lord chamberlain. Mordechai then decrees that allow Jews to defend themselves. Esther asks the king to hold back the rule made by Haman. This is not possible (to revoke a law) in Persia. He tells her she must find another solution. With the help of Mordechai, she asks the king to create the law that for one day, the Jews can defend themselves against any that are persecuting them. The king grants her request. Much blood is shed. Esther then passes a law that the Jews must celebrate the day that changed their fate. Some of the Jews go back to Jerusalem, led by Ezra (Frank Baker). However, Esther stays with her husband as they are in love.
- Louise Lombard as Hadassah / Queen Esther of Persia
- F. Murray Abraham as Mordechai
- Jürgen Prochnow as Haman
- Thomas Kretschmann as King Achashverosh of Persia
- Ornella Muti as Vashti
- Natasha Williams as Mimouna
- Frank Baker as Ezra
- John Hollis as Charbonah
- Umberto Orsini as Memucan
- Phil Davies as Chagai
- Peter Halliday as karshenah
- Cristopher Ettridge as Hatach
- Darren Branstord as Nehemiah
- "Release dates for Esther (1999)". Retrieved 18 August 2012.