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TORRENTS OF SPRING(director/writer: Jerzy Skolimowski; screenwriters: Arcangelo Bonaccorso/based on the novel by Ivan Turgenev; cinematographers: Dante Spinotti/Witold Sobocinski; editor: Cesare d’Amico; music: Stanley Myers; cast: Timothy Hutton (Dimitri Sanin), Nastassja Kinski (Maria Polozov), Valeria Golino (Gemma Rosselli), William Forsythe (Polozov), Urbano Barberini (Von Doenhof), Francesca De Sapio (Signora Rosselli), Christopher Janczar (Klueber), Jerzy Skolimowski (Victor Victorovich); Runtime: 102; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Angelo Rizzoli; Miramax Home Entertainment; 1989-Italy/France-in English and dubbed in English)
A beautiful to look at but an embarrassingly awkward and empty tragic 19th-century love tale.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A beautiful to look at but an embarrassingly awkward and empty tragic 19th-century love tale based on the novel by Ivan Turgenev. It’s about a Russian aristocrat, Dimitri Sanin (Tim Hutton), getting stuck choosing between an innocent love with a German commoner Gemma (Valeria Golino) or a lustful relationship with the seductive fellow Russian aristocrat Maria Polozov (Nastassja Kinski). Dimitri’s inability to choose results in him losing both, and for some murky reason the climactic shot has the luckless protagonist as a middle-aged man in Venice.

The Russian nobleman, in 1840, fell in love with Gemma, the daughter of an Italian pastry maker, while making a stopover in Germany after returning home from a long stay in Europe. When Gemma is slighted, Dimitri wins a duel with the nobleman who insults her and she breaks off her engagement in order to be engaged instead to the gallant Russian. At a local country festival, the femme fatale Maria, the wife of his old friend from Russia (William Forsythe), spots the love birds and becomes determined to destroy their innocent love by using her sexual powers.When Dimitri vows to sell his land in Russia and free his serfs and then to move to Germany and finance the bakery, Maria informs him that she wants to buy his land and thereby gets close to him.

The weak adaptation by Jerzy Skolimowski (The Lightship”/”Moonlighting”/The Shout”) never resonates as anything but a lightweight costume drama with stilted acting from its miscast stars (American actor Hutton can never properly maintain a Russian accent to pull off being a Russian aristocrat) and a middle-brow international production that craves respect but doesn’t deserve it.It lacks sophistication, and proves to be a major disappointment for the talented director–a real career killer.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”