Sad and believable drama about a strong-willed woman who is only loved for her looks and not for having a life and mind of her own. Nastassja Kinski proves to the world with this film that she also can act and in this film it is easy to see why someone said she looked like a young Ingrid Bergman showing both beauty and intelligence.
Had the chance to see a re-mastered issue projected at TIFF lightbox representing my first viewing of the film since the eighties. Polanski offered a mostly faithful if subdued adaptation of the Hardy classic with the contributions of the artisans involved often overcoming the performers. Kinski makes a fine Tess evolving from timid peasant to firebrand over the 3 hour runtime. Winner of 3 Academy awards.
I don't really know what to conclude. It has moments of affecting drama and is constantly beautiful (Nastassja Kinski is a screen goddess). However, the length seems unearned with sequences that evaporate in my memory and most male characters are just complete douches. Even other feminist films at least give their male characters SOME dimensions. Still, overall, it's worth watching.
Polanski’s grotesqueries recede to subtleties and Kinski, with a storyline reliant on tiny narratorial incongruities: the contrast of the tranquility of the countryside alongside the inner turmoil of the characters; the profusion of crossing paths, roads, intersections, entrances, and exits; and at last beginning with the end credits, signifying from the outset some haunting irrevocabilities...