Monday, December 08, 2008

Oliver Twist (Roman Polanski 2005)

Oliver Twist / Oliver Twist. FR/GB/CZ (c) 2005 Oliver Twist Productions LLP. P: Robert Benmussa, Alain Sarde, Roman Polanski. D: Roman Polanski. SC: Ronald Harwood - based on the novel by Charles Dickens (1838). DP: Pawel Edelman - shot on Super 35mm - digital intermediate - 35mm print 2,35:1. PD: Allan Starski. M: Rachel Portman. ED: Hervé de Luze. Studio: Barrandov (Prague). CAST: Barney Clark (Oliver Twist), Ben Kingsley (Fagin), Jamie Foreman (Bill Sykes), Harry Eden (Artful Dodger), Leanne Rowe (Nancy), Edward Hardwicke (Mr. Brownlow), Ian McNeice (Mr. Limbkins), Mark Strong (Toby Crackit), Jeremy Swift (Mr. Bumble). 130 min. The NFI / Columbia Norway release print with Norwegian subtitles by Harald Ohrvik viewed at Cinema Orion, Helsinki, 7 Dec 2008. - A print without signs of wear, the image slightly too dark and soft. - Film Indexes Online synopsis: "Adaptation of Charles Dickens' classic novel. Young orphan Oliver Twist escapes from the workhouse and working for an undertaker and runs away to London. There he is taken under the wing of Fagin, who operates a gang of young thieves, and is taught to steal." - In Polanski's oeuvre, this can be seen as a companion piece to The Pianist: the ordeal of the protagonist, the survival against all odds. - In Ronald Harwood's oeuvre, this can be seen as a part of a trilogy with Ivan Denisovich, and The Pianist; all share similarities of imagery and situations of humiliation and terror. - Charles Dickens' second novel has been filmed some 20 times. David Lean's version (1948) is still superior. - Both Lean and Polanski were inspired visually by Gustave Doré's London: A Pilgrimage (1872). - The lush Romantic score by Rachel Portman can be compared with the composers of Hollywood's Golden Era. - Polanski's special emphasis is on the terror of the 10-year old protagonist, with which he could identify, having been a Holocaust fugitive in Nazi-occupied Poland at the same age. - Another special emphasis is Fagin's death row agony. No clue to Fagin's Jewishness.

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