(Article by Yorgo Douramacos) If an early review from AICN is any indication, the new film, “Silk, from Canadian director Francoise Girard, not only features multiple nude scenes from Keira Knightley but also features a morose Michael Pitt leaving his eye from the prize and lusting after an absent Asian chick he met on a business trip.
After a nine year absence, during which time he was suspected of having given up film making to concentrate on his first passion of Being Canadian, Francoise Girard, the auteur behind 1998’s luxuriant, “The Red Violin,” is finally set to make his comeback this fall with his new film, “Silk.”
The film stars Keira Knightley, once again gamely dressing up in period costume, this time more closely modeled on the downy frump and coddle of her Austen turn in “Pride and Prejudice” than her recent torn bodices and swashed buckles, ala the, “Pirates of The Caribbean,” franchise. And Michael Pitt, last seen making ooey-gooey love to Eva Green on the floor of her family’s Parisian garret, while her character’s brother watched, in Bernardo Bertolucci’s “The Dreamers,” and then reading a cereal box for two hours leading up to suicide in Gus Van Sant’s ill-advised semi-biopic of Kurt Cobain, “Last Days.” The pairing of Knightley and Pitt should further de-sizzle Knightley by setting her fires against yet another effete wet blanket, not unlike the frictionless visage of Orlando Bloom.
One cautiously suspects films like Silk to be cemented and subdued, “A Room With a View and a Staircase and a Pond,” (As Eddie Izzard would say) style affairs; yet I don’t suspect that the action in “Silk,” will occur entirely in a manner house. For all his pretensions and lyrical art house tendencies, Writer/Director Girard has previously been a man with wings on his feet.
His 1994 debut, “Thirty-Two Short Films about Glenn Gould,” took in as much narrative ground as possible without actually telling a story, and took us from one side of Canada to the other, with stops in Germany, France and America while giving a statically charged portrait of eccentricity thorough music.
Four years later Girard’s masterpiece, “The Red Violin,” hurled us through time and distance, from Renaissance Italy to Victorian England to revolutionary China, with Shaft himself, Samuel L. Jackson, unraveling a mystery who’s juice and grandeur only an astute academic could appreciate without a movie having been made about it. Thankfully the ghosts, adventure and romance were there on film though, for those of us unlikely to see it all in the varnish of a Violin.
Now, nearly a decade later, the publicity is revving up for the newly finished film, Silk. It’s the story of a 19th century French Silk smuggler (Pitt) who travels to Japan and there falls in love with a Baron’s beautiful concubine. He then goes back home to France and lusts for fifteen years, languishing in a heap over his consolation prize, Knightley as his wife. There will likely be much yearning, some steamy sex on sheets of the film’s namesake material and occasional discharge of weapons (take the innuendo as you will). If “Silk,” doesn’t seem to command much attention at a moment of the year when three story toaster ovens have just levelled a city, come the doldrums of early autumn it might seem more enticing to try out a sultry costume drama.
“Silk,” is slated for release on October 26th, look for it in arty theaters nationwide and on critical year-end lists.