Illuminata (1998)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBSpain/USA/Japan, 1998.  , , JVC Entertainment Networks, Overseas FilmGroup, Sogepaq.  Screenplay by , John Turturro, based on the play by Brandon Cole.  Cinematography by .  Produced by , John Turturro.  Music by , .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by , .  Film Editing by .  Cannes Film Festival 1998Toronto International Film Festival 1998.  

Too strange to be memorable, this odd mess of a film concerns a nineteenth-century minor theatre group putting on an opera. An A-list cast that includes  (who also directed), Susan Sarandon, ,  (Turturro’s real-life wife) and   (his sister) are all wonderful, but clearly the script they worked from made more sense to them, because the one we’re watching makes nary a whit of it to us. Turturro’s attempt to pay tribute to the nature of art as a collaborative process falls flat, as does the movie in general, but he clearly loves his wife because he gives her all the best scenes. Her monologues alone make the film worth watching, and pull the magic lantern show into a successful realm for a few moments.

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