Cleveland International Film Festival } March 22 – April 1, 2023 } Playhouse Square


Year: 1998
Country: Italy
Run Time: 93 minutes

As Bernardo Bertolucci's monumental expanded version of "The Last Emperor" makes its way through theaters, his latest English language feature BESIEGED attests to the versatility and skill of this world-class director. From a dynastic epic about a nation hundreds of millions of souls large . . . to an intimate drama with only two key players. Shandurai is a beautiful young African woman now far from the homeland where her husband languishes as a political prisoner - if he is indeed alive at all. Now Shadurai studies medicine on the side, but her main occupation is looking after the spacious villa of a wealthy Englishman named Jason. And, after a while, Jason's main occupation seems to be looking after Shandurai. After some spirited debates about music (Jason composes; Shandurai preferes her African traditional rhythms) the eccentric employer finds himself falling for his enticing housekeeper. Shandurai resists his advances, ever loyal to her vanished husband. But the siege has only just begun. Bolstered by the nuanced performances of David Thewlis and Thandie Newton, BESIEGED proves that in terms of cinema, Bernardo Bertolucci could also lay claim to the title of emperor.

Bernardo Bertolucci, Clair Peploe

Bernardo Bertolucci

Massimo Cortesi

Fabio Cianchetti

Jacopo Quadri

Principal Cast
David Thewlis, Thandie Newton

Film Contact
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