Yesterday went and watched Roman Polanski’s Tess (1979), at the Russian Centre. What a beautiful adaptation of the tragic 1891 novel by Thomas Hardy. A very young naïve looking Nastassja Kinski excelled in her performance as the protagonist, ‘Tess’. Having watched a lot of movies starring Kinski; à la Cat People (1982), Paris, Texas (1984), Unfaithfully Yours (1984), The Ring (1996), Little Boy Blue (1997) and Time Share (2000), to name a few; this is the first time she reminded me of Ingrid Bergman. Especially Bergman’s portrayal of Paula Alquist, a woman being tormented by her husband, in Gaslight (1944). Both these movies are set during the Victorian era, thus costumes are similar as well, but the way Kinski spoke, walked, her mannerisms, everything in this flick resembled those of Bergman’s in Gaslight.

Tess (1979) is definitely the best work of, both, Polanski and Kinski.
Peter Firth too was remarkable as Angel Clare, Tess’s weak willed husband, whom you end up ultimately sympathising with. Though Firth’s best performance I’ve seen happens to be that of Alan Strang’s from Equus (1977).

Roman Polanski dedicated this movie to his wife, Sharon Tate, who was brutally murdered when she was 9 months pregnant by the Charles Manson gang in 1969, an year after the release of Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby (1968). It was Tate who had recommended the novel Tess of the d’Urbervilles to Polanski, just before she left for the states – which was the last time he saw her alive, and apparently told him that this would make a great movie.

Great movie by a great director with a tragic story attached to it. (Both in fiction and reality).

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense