The Ballad Of The Sad Cafe (1991)

SIMON CALLOW

Bil’s rating (out of 5):    BB.5

USA/United Kingdom1991.  Channel Four Films, Merchant Ivory Productions.  Screenplay by , from the play by , based on the novel by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  

Oppressively weird little film from the production house of Merchant Ivory, with British actor Simon Callow directing an American drama as if it took place on another planet. is excellent as the tomboyish owner of a general store in a dusty southern town who is surprised by the arrival of a humpbacked dwarf claiming to be a family relation. Thrilled to have someone to take care of, and taking a liking to him instantly, Redgrave’s hard edges are soon softened and the town grows to see her as a friend. The arrival of her ex-convict husband (), signifies trouble in the midst of all her newfound joy, and she must now prepare herself for the fight of a lifetime (literally) in order to get rid of him once and for all. Great acting, but the photography is overly evocative and the settings far too alienating. Also stars as a sympathetic town preacher.

Berlin Film Festival:  In Competition

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