Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5. USA, 1987. Cannon Group. Story by Andrey Konchalovskiy, Screenplay by Gerard Brach, Andrey Konchalovskiy, Marjorie David. Cinematography by Chris Menges. Produced by Yoram Globus, Menahem Globus. Music by Tangerine Dream. Production Design by Stephen Marsh. Costume Design by Katherine Dover. Film Editing by Alain Jakubowicz. Cannes Film Festival 1987. Independent Spirit Awards 1987.
Jill Clayburgh is superb as a magazine reporter who decides to travel to Louisiana’s back of beyond in search of distant relatives whom she has never met for a piece she’s writing about her family. What she and her emotionally troubled daughter (Martha Plimpton, once again the rebellious teenager) get are Clayburgh’s cousin’s aging child bride (a terrifying Barbara Hershey) and her nearly wild sons who know very little about the modern world and are kept hidden in their bayou home by their domineering matriarch. The vast chasm between the two adult women threatens to constantly erupt until revelations result in the bridging between two completely different worlds. Andrei Konchalovsky’s direction sometimes overindulges in the symbolic imagery (which also marred Runaway Train), but the otherworldly qualities of the bayou scenes are effective and the characters rich and absorbing.