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1,043 Ratings


Directed by Roman Polanski
United Kingdom, France, 1979
Drama, Romance


Tess, a poor British girl, is sent by her alcoholic father to visit her rich relatives and apply for a job. She’s taken in and immediately seduced by her cousin, Alec, who leaves her pregnant. Tess keeps it to herself and, after the child dies, begins a relationship with a respectable farmer, Angel.

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Tess Directed by Roman Polanski

Awards & Festivals

Academy Awards

1981 | 3 wins including: Best Cinematography

1981 | 3 nominations including: Best Picture

The film places Kinski against the lush backdrop of the French countryside, as photographed by Ghislain Cloquet and Geoffrey Unsworth. Cloquet, who’d worked with Bresson on Au Hasard Balthazar, took over when Unsworth, who’d been Director of Photography on Kubrick’s 2001, A Space Odyssey, suffered a fatal heart attack during the third week of shooting. This collaboration resulted in a strikingly beautiful movie, particularly the exteriors that recall the realist paintings of Gustav Courbet.
December 16, 2014
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Made at a time when half the world, it seemed, considered its director a pariah—as many have continued to vilify as champion Polanski in the thirty-five years since the Gailey incident—Tess stands as one of the filmmaker’s gentlest, most sumptuous works.
November 30, 2012
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…Consider various landscapes where Tess appears: in the fields with her baby; walking through the mud to see Angel’s family; surrounded by the police at the film’s end. Each scene reveals that her complex characterisation is as moody and intense as the scenery that surrounds her. This characterisation is reinforced by the cinematography. The cinematography works, then, to intensify our understanding of the film and highlights Polanski’s meticulous filmmaking.
March 01, 2008
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