DIRECTOR: ROGER CHRISTIAN
CINEMATOGRAPHY: DENIS CROSSAN
MUSIC: BARRINGTON PHELOUNG
CAST: Tcheky Karyo (Nostradamus), Amanda Plummer (Catherine), Assumpta Serna (Anne), Julia Ormond, Anthony Higgins, Naja Morgenstern, Michael Gough, Diana Quick, F. Murray Abraham (Scallinger), Rutger Hauer (Monk)
ONE WORD: The story is very nice.
This mixed production, is much better than it has been given credit for. While Nostradamus may be a bit of an overkill story for a film, specially given his immense quantity of predictions, it does make for a well written film, that tries very well, to bring forth the story of one man and his gift.
The film does not dwell on the psychic styling's of Nostradamus, and neither does it spend too much time in anything in particular. It does, however, seem to have a desire to cover very fast, a very large span of time. And because of it, we may miss the main reasons why Nostradamus was ahead of his time.
From his early days, as a medicine student, and eventually doctor, he is portrayed as a new age man, whose interest is saving lives much more than it is the reasons why he knows what he knows. He is already using herbs for his cures and having a magnificent effect, even if the authorities and the medical establishment do not like it.
He does get lucky, and ends up in the French courts, where he meets Catherine de Medici, who goes on to see her children become kings, and proceed to die before her, something that Nostradamus tells her would happen. With her at his side, he is able to fight the menace of the Christian authorities, and their immense hatred for anything.
Some of his predictions begin to take place, and his stature begins to be appreciated. He gets out of the plagued areas in France and sets out to quieter pastures in Europe, where he can finally learn something about his visions, and write them.
By far, the nicest thing in this film is F. Murray Abraham, one of the most interesting characters, and a part time teacher to Nostradamus after his medical school days. He shows the young man, a lot of literature that is black listed, and considered the work of the devil. While much of this may help Nostradamus, little of it explains the way he does things, which are more channeled than anything else.
This is not a great film, but it is one that does not have the flair of a major production, and as such stands out as a neat little film with some nice touches here and there. And with some excellent performances, that are very well thought out. F. Murray Abraham's the best of them.
Worth see. A slice of European history, with the French courts, specially Queen Margot and her brothers. ( See the other film, which never mentions Nostradamus, though he is shown as a person next to Catherine several times.)
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