Italian Contemporary Film Festival 2014: The Best Offer – Giuseppe Tornatore

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The Italian Contemporary Film Festival got underway on Thursday with the latest effort from Italian maestro, Giuseppe Tornatore, known for the beautiful works Malena, Cinema Paradiso, Legend of 1900. Each film enchants, and enthralls, taking you into their world, and wrapping you up in not only in the beauty the of the world, but in the sometimes disappointing nature of humanity.

The Best Offer follows proudly in its footsteps.

Virgil Oldman (Geoffrey Rush) is a master auctioneer and art lover, a man who keeps the human world at a distance at all times, wearing gloves, only touching things when they are properly insulated from any other human interaction. He lives a self-imposed isolation, in a gorgeously appointed, but incredibly sterile feeling apartment.

But that doesn’t stop him from his primary pursuit of art. He has gathered an impressive collection over his time, but now, for the first time ever, he’s come across a mystery he can’t figure out. A woman.

When he is called in to evaluate a collection belonging to the reclusive Claire Ibbetson (Sylvia Hoeks), Oldman is initially reticent, and then infuriated in the way he is being dealt with. Once he comes across a series of pieces that may lead to the restoration of a clockwork automaton, however, his interest is piqued by that and the rest of her impressive collection.

But nothing begins to obsess him more than her.

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As he is drawn into the mystery of who she is, and for the first time, he may let someone get close to him.

He’s surrounded by other art lovers, his friend and buyer, Billy Whistler (Donald Sutherland) and his restoration expert, Robert (Jim Sturgess), both of whom have never seen him in quite this state before.

The stage is set for revelations, discoveries, and the sometimes horrifying nature of humanity.

All of it is set against the beautiful backdrop of Italy, gorgeous portraits and statuary, and stellar performances.

Rush is in top form, and turns in a wonderfully, nuanced performance.

The film is filled with a haunting score by Ennio Morricone, that perfectly compliments not only the performances, but the gorgeous visuals on display in Tornatore’s masterpiece.

The Best Offer is filled with beauty and dread, as the mystery unravels, and like the portraits that hang in Oldman’s private sitting room, is beautiful to sit, study and reflect upon.

See it!

The Best Offer screens one more time during the course of the Italian Contemporary Film Festival, on June 19th at 9:15 at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema.

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