04/24/2014  
One Direction: Reaching for the Stars Part 2 - The Next Chapter on DVD/VOD May 13Shelter Island on DVD May 13Pennsylvania Ballet at 50 on DVD May 13Flying Tigers & Home of the Brave on Blu-ray & DVD May 13Stalingrad on Two-Disc Blu-ray with 3D, DVD & Digital May 13The Dave Clark Five And Beyond: Glad All Over on DVD & Blu-ray May 13Longmire: Season 2 on DVD May 13

follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

NE News Editor

'The Voice' Recap: Bottom Three Plead for Viewers' Save...
Stephen Colbert visits David Letterman and new 'Late Sh...
Oscar winner Lupita Nyong'o named People's most beautif...
One Direction: Reaching for the Stars Part 2 - The Next...
Shelter Island on DVD May 13...

JB Joseph Burke

The Answer to American Idol's Problems Is......
CONCRETE BLONDES...
CREAM FAREWELL CONCERT...
JACK REACHER...
MANBORG...

CA Chuck Aliaga

CORRUPTION (BLU-RAY)...
THE ATTACK (BLU-RAY)...
TANK GIRL (BLU-RAY)...
HORROR STORIES...
THE UNINVITED (BLU-RAY)...

RR Rich Rosell

THE GIRL...
THE HORDE...
LIFE IS SWEET (BLU-RAY)...
SHOUT AT THE DEVIL (BLU-RAY/DVD COMBO)...
THE BLUE ANGEL (BLU-RAY)...

MZ Mark Zimmer

BABY PEGGY: THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM...
STORAGE WARS: VOLUME THREE...
Take Part in a Film Restoration...
THE 39 STEPS (BLU-RAY)...
DARK SHADOWS: THE BEST OF BARNABAS...

JS Jesse Shanks

2 BROKE GIRLS...
DOWNTON ABBEY SEASONS ONE & TWO LIMITED EDITION...
FLORENCE AND THE SPIRIT OF THE RENAISSANCE...
NAZI COLLABORATORS...
KATT WILLIAMS: KATTPACALYPSE...

RJ Ross Johnson

THE LIFE AND DEATH OF COLONEL BLIMP (BLU-RAY)...
PURPLE NOON (BLU-RAY)...
WEEKEND (BLU-RAY)...
JUAN OF THE DEAD...
THE DEVIL'S NEEDLE AND OTHER TALES OF VICE AND REDEMPTI...

JD Jon Danziger

SUNSET BOULEVARD...
SALO, OR THE 120 DAYS OF SODOM...
TABLOID...
CUL-DE-SAC...
3 WOMEN...

JC Joel Cunningham

YOJIMBO/SANJURO...
SUMMER HOURS (L'heure d'ÈtÈ)...
WIZARD OF OZ...
WINGS OF DESIRE...
HORTON HEARS A WHO!...

DH Dan Heaton

REVANCHE...
LAST DAYS OF DISCO...
NIGHTS AND WEEKENDS...
STARGATE SG-1: CHILDREN OF THE GODS...
STARGATE ATLANTIS: THE COMPLETE FIFTH SEASON...

MS Matt Serafini

THE STEPFATHER...
THE HILLS RUN RED...
MANAGEMENT...
NIGHT OF DEATH...
GNAW...

KC Kevin Clemons

Freddy Got Fingered...

JU Jeff Ulmer

Secure The Second Season of The Border on DVD August 25...
THE WALTONS: THE COMPLETE 9TH SEASON...
Dance Me Outside kicks onto DVD May 6, 2008...

DD Dale Dobson

Film-Fest 4: Sundance 2000 & Hawaii...

RM Robert Mandel

Saving Private Ryan...

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

 





Covered California

Keywords

television, the voice, vocal competition, carson daly, twitter, usher, t.j. wilkins, shakira, tess boyer, dani moz, late show, david letterman, stephen colbert, cbs, comedy central, the colbert report, celebrity, lupita nyong'o, people mangazine, academy award, 12 years a slave, steve mcqueen, biography, documentary, box office, movies, good morning america, abc, lara spencer, josh elliot, nbc sports, george stephanopolous, robin roberts, movie, heaven is for real, connor corum, greg kinnear, thomas haden, books, gabriel garcia marquez, nobel laureate, one hundred years of solitude, war, cannes film festival, grace of monaco, nicole kidman, kristen stewart, robert pattinson, maps to the stars, julianne moore, foxcatcher, the homesman, tommy lee jones, hilary swank, mrs. doubtfire, robin williams, fox 2000, chris columbus, david berenhaum, drama, brad pitt, general stanley mcchrystal, the operators, afghanistan war film, david michod, gone girl gillian flynn, ben affleck, rosamund pike, elvis costello, she, nine inch nails, trent reznor, atticus ross, gone girl's score, ultimate warrior, james hellwig, wrestler, heart disease, world wrestling entertainment hall of fame, animation, hbo, game of thrones, jack gleeson, king joffrey baratheon, the purple wedding, horror, fantasy, sci-fi, shailene wookley, veronica roth, allegiant, divergent, insurgent, the croods, nicolas cage, joe, david gordon green, tye sheridan

On Kindle!
On Facbook!
digitallyOBSESSED!
digitallyOBSESSED!
Promote Your Page Too
Become a Reviewer | Search | Review Vault | Reviewers
Readers | Webmasters | Privacy | Contact