The Unbearable Lightness Of Being


(out of 5)

Milan Kundera’s supposedly “unfilmable” novel reaches the screen with outstanding results, another jewel in Philip Kaufman’s crown after his fascinating The Right Stuff.   is delicious as a Prague doctor who has his way with every woman who crosses his path, enjoying a continuing physical relationship with a sexy artist () who requires nothing more of him than his body.  On a trip to the provinces to perform an operation, he is struck by the delicate nature of a local bartender (), with whom he strikes up an affair after she moves to the big city.  They eventually marry, his practice continuing while she gains ground as a photographer, happy in love but always vulnerable to his continuing wandering ways.  It isn’t all about love, however, as the events of Prague Spring see their country invaded and occupied by their Soviet overlords, events which scatter the three of them to Switzerland before Binoche returns to her homeland, Day-Lewis follows, and Olin goes further afield.  Passionate and literate, the film is more than just a story:  its narrative encompasses love, sex, politics and art, but Kaufman has put all these things into the film’s energy, even its editing and cinematography are a sensual experience that envelopes you.

USA, 1988

Directed by

Screenplay by , Philip Kaufman, based on the novel by

Cinematography by

Produced by Saul Zaentz

Music by 

Production Design by

Costume Design by

Film Editing by , , ,

The Criterion Collection

Cast Tags:  , , , , ,, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Academy Award Nominations
Best Cinematography (Sven Nykvist)
Best Writing (Screenplay Based on Material From Another Medium) (Jean-Claude Carriere, Philip Kaufman)

Golden Globe Award Nominations
Best Motion Picture-Drama
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture (Lena Olin)

New York Film Critics Award Nominations
Best Film
Best Cinematographer (Sven Nykvist)

Los Angeles Film Critics Award Nomination
Best Cinematography (Sven Nykvist)

National Society of Film Critics Awards
Best Film
Best Director (Philip Kaufman)

Best Supporting Actress (Lena Olin)
Best Cinematography (Sven Nykvist)

National Board Of Review Award
Top Ten Films

Writers Guild Award Nomination
Best Adapted Screenplay

Independent Spirit Award
Best Cinematography

British Academy Award
Best Screenplay – Adapted

Boston Film Critics Awards
Best Actor (Daniel Day-Lewis)
Best Cinematography



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