07/03/2015  
Goodbye to All That on DVD Jul 14My Little Pony - Friendship Is Magic: Cutie Mark Quests on DVD Jun 30First Peoples on DVD Jul 7Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 on Digital Jun 30 & Blu-ray Combo Jul 14Tough Being Loved By Jerks on DVD Jun 9Turbo Fast: Season One on DVD June 2Inside the Court of Henry VIII on DVD Jun 16

follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

NE News Editor

Watch the star-studded "Wet Hot American Summer" traile...
'Star Trek 3' Title Revealed by Director Justin Lin: Ta...
Mexico Won't Be Sending Anyone To Miss Universe Pageant...
Goodbye to All That on DVD Jul 14...
Cosby lawyer: Unsealing court docs 'terribly embarrassi...
Disney bans selfie sticks at all theme parks, including...
Jimmy Fallon hospitalized after hand injury...
Photos From New Episodes of "The X-Files"...
Apple's decision to pay artists a win for indies, Taylo...
My Little Pony - Friendship Is Magic: Cutie Mark Quests...



Share: email   Print      Technorati.gif   StumbleUpon.gif   MySpace   digg.gif delicious.gif   google.gif   magnolia.gif   facebook.gif
Permalink: Permalink.gif



Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon.com

Strand Releasing presents
Harem Suare (1999)

"Allah sent three apples from on high. One for the teller, one for the listener, and the last for the heroes of our tale."
- Gulfidan (Serra Yilmaz)

Review By: Mark Zimmer   
Published: March 16, 2003

Stars: Marie Gillain, Alex Descas, Serra Yilmaz, Haluk Bilginer, Valeria Golino
Other Stars: Lucia Bosé, Malick Bowens, Nilüfuer Açikalin
Director: Ferzan Ozpetek

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nudity, sexuality)
Run Time: 01h:44m:46s
Release Date: March 18, 2003
UPC: 712267230327
Genre: drama


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B+ BB-A- D+

DVD Review

The Arab world has always been a culture that greatly values the telling of tales; witness the timeless narratives of Sheherezade in the Arabian Nights. Noted director Ferzan Ozpetek takes this very Eastern concept to provide a look at the fall of the Ottoman Empire as seen through the eyes of the women of the harem of the Sultan, with a highly complex and fragmented narrative style that suggests that the telling of such tales is no straightforward task.

The central focus is Safiye (Marie Gillain), an Italian girl who had been sold into slavery by her parents at age eight. Purchased in Cairo by the Sultan (Haluk Bilginer), she is one of a large crowd of women kept in relative comfort to serve his whims. Among others, to suit the Sultan's tastes, Saphiye translates Verdi operas for him, while giving them happy endings. Unsatisfied with this status, however, Saphiye conspires with the eunuch Nadir (Alex Descas) to bring herself to the fore and make herself the favorite of the Sultan and to bear him a child. Things become complicated first when she falls in love with Nadir, and then when the Sultan is first forced to accept a constitution and then to flee for Europe, leaving the harem behind.

The tale is not presented in such straightforward fashion, however, but cryptically through stories within stories within stories. The tale is ostensibly narrated by the aged Saphiye (Lucia Bosé) years later to young Anita (Valeria Golino, perhaps best known to American audiences as the romantic lead in Hot Shots!). Yet like a Mobius strip, the tale of old Safiye is being told by Gulfidan (Serra Yilmaz) to the harem, in a temporal impossibility. Furthermore, at times the various narrators are inherently unreliable, as they tell a story in voice-over that is quite different from the story that is actually shown on the screen, making the film a bit of an Oriental puzzle.

Although the pacing is quite slow, the languid character feels appropriate to the situation. The sets and costumes are all sumptuously recreated, and the photography is often dazzlingly beautiful. The performances are quite good throughout, most notably Gillain and Descas, who communicate much with a look or a slight gesture. Frequently the most important communications on the screen here are completely wordless, which is somewhat at odds with the theme of tale-telling. However, the sense of parting and loss that fills the second half of the picture is palpable, and really does not require words to convey the bonds that are being torn asunder.

Although there is copious nudity, it is only on occasion erotic, most notably in a brief scene between Safiye and Nadir the eunuch. The print provided here is substantially cut; at 105 minutes it is shorter than the 107-minute Italian cut, the 110-minute version seen in France and the 125-minute cut from Turkey. Those who are fans of Ozpetek's work may recall references to Anita as the great-aunt of one of the characters in his first film, Steam, an apparent attempt to make his films a giant seamless tapestry of a tale.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: The anamorphic widescreen picture generally looks very nice, when the camera is static. Colors are extremely rich, black levels are good and shadow detail is excellent. When things are motionless on screen there is very good clarity and sharpness of detail. Unfortunately, during the frequent pans there is a highly distracting amount of shimmer and general video noise that drops the grade considerably. As befits a recent film, there is no significant damage to the source print.

Image Transfer Grade: B-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Frenchno


Audio Transfer Review: The original French audio has a solid substance, with excellent clarity and depth. The music comes through quite well, and during a storm sequence the surrounds and deep bass really come alive. There is excellent atmosphere that immerses the viewer quite well.

Audio Transfer Grade: A-

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 12 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English
1 Original Trailer(s)
4 Other Trailer(s) featuring Steam, His Secret Life, The Cockettes, Burnt Money
Packaging: Unknown
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: The sole extras provided are trailers. There is a nonanamorphic letterbox trailer for the main feature, and also trailers for two other pictures by Ozpetek. Two miscellaneous Strand releases are also featured, with the full-frame trailer to The Cockettes and a nonanamorphic letterbox trailer for Burnt Money provided. But that's it. The English subtitles are burned in, which will please few fans of foreign film.

Extras Grade: D+

 

Final Comments

A stylish and complex exercise in storytelling, beautifully shot and with some good performances. Unfortunately, although the audio is excellent there are some issues with compression and video noise, and little in the way of useful extras.

 


Back to top

Search 10,000+ titles:

or Advanced Search

DVD REVIEW ARCHIVE


Get FREE Shipping on all orders at TimeLife.com! - 120x90

 



Microsoft Store

Keywords

television, netflix, wet hot american summer: first day of camp, michael showalter, david wain, elizabeth banks, michael ian black, bradley cooper, judah friedlander, janeane garofalo, joe lo truglio, ken marino, christopher meloni, marguerite moreau, zak orth, amy poehler, david hyde pierce, paul rudd, molly shannon, movie, sci-fy, star trek, justin lin, j.j. abrams, star trek beyond, zoe soldana, chris pine, celebrity, donald trump, republican presidential candidate, nbc, televisa, ora tv, lupita jones, carlos slim, larry king, drama, bill cosby, sex-assault lawsuit, associated press, george m. gowen iii, disneyland, disney california adventure, selfie sticks banned, california screaming, coachella, lollapalooza, jimmy fallon, tonight show, hand injury, x files, david duchovny, gillian anderson, fox, january 24, 2016, music, apple music, allen kovac, motley crue, taylor swift, elvis costello, calvin harris, animation, kids, the tonight show, colin ferrell, vince vaughn, true detective, hbo, nbc nightly news, brian williams, anchor, matt lauer, today, msnbc, lester holt, mark feldstein, inside out, pixar, mindy-disgust, amy poehler-joy, phyllis smith-sadness, fear-bill hader, anger-lewis black., nbc evening news, cnn, robert barnett, daytime soap oprah, general hospital, genie francis, anthony geary, foo fighters, cancellations, wembley stadium, murrayfield, dave grohl, sci-fi, adventure action, avengers: age of ultron, spectre, star wars, cbs, big brother, julie chen, wwe wrestler, professional poker player, a poker dealer, a dentist, and a few college students, documentary, mission: impossible - rogue nation, tom cruise, pixels, adam sandler, ted 2, mark wahlberg, terminator genisys, arnold schwarzenegger, doctor strange, chiwetel ejiofor, benedict cumberbatch, tilda swinton, nightly news, the today show, dateline nbc, duck dynasty, jep robertson, jessica, the good, the bad, and the grace of god: what honesty and pain taught us about faith, family, and forgiveness, good morning america, beyonce, marco gorges, comedy, bridge of spies, tom hanks, steven spielberg, matt carman, coen brothers, spy thriller, true events, mission:impossible rogue nation, christopher mcquarrie, kirk krack, rebecca ferguson, lifetime, deadly adoption, kristen wiig, will ferrell, fantastic beasts and where to find them, eddie redmayne. the theory of everything

On Kindle!
On Facbook!
digitallyOBSESSED!
digitallyOBSESSED!
Promote Your Page Too

Visit:

Zarabesque.com

Original Magic Dress.com

Susti Heaven

Become a Reviewer | Search | Review Vault | Reviewers
Readers | Webmasters | Privacy | Contact
Microsoft Store