Waiting for her husband to come back from service in World War I, a mother (sterling Nicole Kidman) raises two children who are allergic to daylight. The plot thickens after they are joined by a creepy trio: a housekeeper, a governess and a gardener. The mother feels that something strange is going on in the house and that the servants are not who they claim to be. Her children report seeing other people in the house.
Set in a huge dark house located outside of time and space, the film captivates from the very start to the unexpected denouement. One of the best horror films of this century, whose winning card is the unsettling atmosphere built with the play of light and shadow, good acting and skilful dramaturgy rather than the staple of horror films in recent years: gratuitous violence, realistic depictions of suffering, and cheap directing tricks based on special effects enhanced by unnaturally ramped-up music and quick-fire editing.
The film, helmed by Alejandro Amenábar – the Spanish-Chilean director of the famous Open Your Eyes and The Sea Inside, which brought him an Oscar – was a big box-office success all over the world (mostly in Spain and the USA). It coincided with the golden era of Kidman’s acting career – it was made after Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut and Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge! and before Stephen Daldry’s The Hours and Lars von Trier’s Dogville.
This screening will be presented together with Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives by Apichatpong Weerasethakul.
- Director — Alejandro Amenábar
- Writer — Alejandro Amenábar
- Cinematography — Javier Aguirresarobe
- Genre — thriller
- Production — France, Spain, USA, Italy
- Year of production — 2001