offoffoff film
 RELATED PROJECTS

      







 ADVERTISEMENT













Site links
  • OFFOFFOFF Home
  • About OFFOFFOFF
  • Contact us

    Get our newsletter:
     
    Search the site:
     

    Film section
  • Film main page
  • Film archive
  • Audio index
  • Film links


    Top 10 lists


  • Top 10 films of 2004
    (Andrea, David, Joshua, Leslie)
  • Top 10 films of 2003
    (Andrea, David, Joshua, Leslie)
  • Top 10 films of 2002
  • Top 10 films of 2001
  • Top 10 films of 2000
  • Top 10 films of 1999
  •  All of our top 10 lists, 1999 - 2004

    Current movies


  • Afterschool
  • Antichrist
  • Babies
  • Broken Embraces
  • Dare
  • District 9
  • The End of Poverty?
  • Fix
  • Food Beware
  • The Men Who Stare at Goats
  • Pirate Radio
  • Precious
  • Red Cliff
  • The September Issue

    Festivals


  • Brooklyn International Film Festival
  • Human Rights Watch Film Festival
  • New York Film Festival

    Archive


    Complete archive

    Recent reviews:
  • (500) Days of Summer
  • Anita O'Day: The Life of a Jazz Singer
  • The Art of the Steal
  • The Beetle
  • Blessed is the Match: The Life and Death of Hannah Senesh
  • Boy A
  • Brideshead Revisited
  • The Brothers Bloom
  • Burn After Reading
  • Cold Souls
  • The Duchess
  • Elegy
  • Enlighten Up! A Skeptic's Journey Into the World of Yoga
  • Five Minutes of Heaven
  • Flame and Citron
  • Frozen River
  • Happy-Go-Lucky
  • How to Lose Friends & Alienate People
  • The Human Condition
  • Hunger
  • Inglourious Basterds
  • King of Shadows
  • The Lemon Tree
  • Lorna's Silence
  • A Man Named Pearl
  • Man on Wire
  • Memorial Day
  • Mister Foe
  • Morning Light
  • My Führer
  • My One and Only
  • Paris
  • The Pervert's Guide to Cinema
  • Peter and Vandy
  • Police, Adjective
  • Pray the Devil Back to Hell
  • Profit Motive and the Whispering Wind
  • Rachel Getting Married
  • A Secret
  • Sleep Dealer
  • St. Trinian's
  • Thirst
  • Throw Down Your Heart
  • Valentino: The Last Emperor
  • What's the Matter with Kansas?
  • Wild Grass
  • Jay DiPietro

  •  REVIEW: ELEGY

    Elegy

    Extra credit

    Forget the Summer of Sam, welcome to the Summer of Ben — Sir Ben Kingsley that is. The ubiquitous Oscar winning knight is everywhere.

    By LESLIE (HOBAN) BLAKE
    Offoffoff.com

    It all started in the late Spring with the aptly named Walken in the ill-fated "War Inc," an evil, bald, goateed Southern C.I.A. honcho. Next came the long haired, cross-eyed Guru Tugginmypudha, in the deservedly ill-fated "'Love Guru." Then last month it was Dr. Squiers, the semi long-haired, schlubby sex-crazed aging hippie shrink in "The Wackness" and currently he's returned to his trademark bald/bearded look for both Grinko, the Russian cop on the "Transsiberian" and Dr. David Kepesh, Philip Roth's professorial alter ego in "Elegy."

      
    ELEGY
    Directed by: Isabel Coixet.
    Produced by: Andre Lamal, Gary Lucchesi, Tom Rosenberg.
    Written by: Nicholas Meyer.
    Adapted from The Dying Animal by: Philip Roth.
    Cast: Ben Kingsley, Penélope Cruz, Dennis Hopper, Patricia Clarkson, Peter Sarsgaard, Deborah Harry..
    Cinematography: Jean-Claude Larrieu.
    Edited by: Amy E. Duddleston.
    Production design by: Katia Stano.
    Art direction by: Katia Stano.
    Costumes by: Katia Stano.
    Forget the Summer of Sam, welcome to the Summer of Ben — Sir Ben Kingsley that is. The ubiquitous Oscar® winning knight is everywhere.

    And hair-dos aside, Dr. Squiers, M.D. and Dr. Kepesh, Ph.D. are sensual brothers under the skin. Both are sex junkies who wind up in May-December couplings — the M.D. is a real sad sack who hits the sexual jackpot (emphasis on the pot) in a phone booth with one of the Olsen twins.

    But the famous Columbia professor of Practical Criticism (we watch him banter with Charlie Rose ala Salmon Rushdie) is quite the successful, if aging horn dog, especially among his young students — most especially Consuela, a Cuban student. Penelope Cruz (pulling double duty herself this summer with her stint in "Vicky Christina Barcelona") plays Consuela with a young Sophia Loren-esque energy and sexuality. Kepesh's fame has always proved aphrodisiac enough for most of his bright young things. But Consuela will prove different in several ways, not the least of which is his expected depth of feeling for her.

    Elegy  
    Kepesh is the "hero" of three of Roth's novellas, morphing from a comical Kafka-esque turn in "The Breast" (yes, he turns into a breast!) to the much younger and charming first person narrator of "The Professor of Desire." Neither incarnation leads directly to the renowned aging prof in "Elegy" — renamed for obvious reasons, from the original novella title: "The Dying Animal."

      
      Penelope Cruz (pulling double duty herself this summer with her stint in "Vicky Christina Barcelona") plays Consuela with a young Sophia Loren-esque energy and sexuality.
      
    This Kepesh is egged on in his May-December romantic mis-adventure by his equally horny old pal George, a married Pulitzer Prize winning poet played by Dennis Hopper in engaging old fogey, trash-talking mode. The Consuela affair rocks Kapesh's world as no other, rejuvenating him — even sending him back to his youthful pursuit of photography before he descends into a frenzy of sexual jealousy.

    Elegy  
    The photography is an important plot point while the jealousy is a natural concomitant of Kepesh's pathological fear of aging. There's a substantial amount of knightly nudity and — for a geezer — Sir Ben holds up well. La Cruz is of course stunning as the on-screen embodiment of the original book title.

    Patty Clarkson and Peter Sarsgaard, always able and interesting in any role, are particularly effective — the former as Kapesh's one time student and longtime acerbic fuck-buddy and the latter as his dad-weary son, the doctor.

      
      Kepesh, the "hero" of three of Philip Roth's novellas, is egged on in this May-December romantic mis-adventure by his equally horny old pal George, a married Pulitzer Prize winning poet played by Dennis Hopper.
      
    The mood and the mood music are appropriately, well, moody if not exactly elegiac. The slow, sad denouement of the film may not capture the precise tone of Roth's original bleak pessimism but "Elegy" still represents a major step forward in the International career of Spanish director Isabel Croixet ("Things I Never Told You" and "The Secret Life of Words").

    AUGUST 13, 2008
    OFFOFFOFF.COM • THE GUIDE TO ALTERNATIVE NEW YORK



    Post a comment on "Elegy"