Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.
Spain/Germany, 2002. 42nd Street Productions S.L., Els Films de la Rambla, FFP Media Entertainment, Televisió de Catalunya, Televisión Española, Vía Digital. Screenplay by Ventura Pons, based on the novella The Page Turner by David Leavitt. Cinematography by Mario Montero. Produced by Ventura Pons. Music by Carles Cases. Production Design by Bel lo Torras. Costume Design by Maria Gil. Film Editing by Pere Abadal.
David Leavitt’s novella The Page Turner provides the basis for Ventura Pons’s first English-language film. It features newcomer Kevin Bishop as an eighteen year-old aspiring pianist who turns pages for a world-famous concert pianist (Paul Rhys) at a San Francisco performance. Later that summer, Bishop and mom Juliet Stevenson run into Rhys during their trip to Barcelona, with Bishop and Rhys beginning a torrid affair that is a fun trifle for the older gentleman and a matter of passion for the boy. Featuring Leavitt’s trademark delicacy with relationships, particularly between the mother and son, this film is unfortunately hampered by the director’s poor command of the language (including his missing the times that his mostly British cast members slip out of their American accents). The performances are clunky (particularly Stevenson, who could pull off this kind of character in her sleep but seems like she’s trying too hard here), the plotting is choppy and the emotions never go beyond the surface; too many of the plot turns are based on coincidences that make much more sense within the intimacy of literature than the more relative anonymity of the cinema screen. Still, Barcelona looks beautiful (too beautiful, as it is obvious that it subs for other cities in a number of scenes) and it’s always nice to get Gaudi’s architecture on the big screen.