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Film Review

By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

 

Illuminata
Directed by John Turturro
Artisan 08/99 DVD/VHS Feature Film
R - sexual content, nudity, language

For his second outing as a director, actor John Turturro follows Mac with a romantic comedy set in turn-of-the-century New York. In the lively and engaging screenplay he wrote with Brandon Cole, he plays Tuccio, the resident playwright of a ragtag repertory company. When a young actor collapses during a performance of "Cavalleria Rusticana," Rachel (Katherine Borowitz), Tuccio's wife and the company's lead actress, convinces the theatre owner (Beverly D'Angelo) to let her husband stage his new play about love. Although everybody rises to the occasion, Umberto Bevalaqua (Christopher Walken), a gay drama critic, savages the drama. Shortly afterwards, Marco (Bill Irwin), a handsome cast member, agrees to a private rendezvous with this man, who adores him. Meanwhile, the depressed Tuccio meets with Celimene (Susan Sarandon), a past-her-prime diva who offers him a few tasty propositions.

Similar in theme to the Academy Award-winning Shakespeare In Love, this hilarious comedy probes the fascinating intersection of love and creativity — a place where egos clash, loyalties are tested, and risks are taken. The ensemble members of the cast exude a delicious playfulness in all that they do on screen. Katherine Borowitz gives an astonishing performance as a gifted and strong-souled woman who is so aroused by life that she comes to cherish even an imperfect love.

 

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Reviews and database copyright 1970 2012
by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
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