SOULKEEPER, THE: DVD
In 1905, 19 year old Sabina Spielrein (Emilia Fox) is admitted to a psychiatric hospital in Zurich where she has arrived from Russia. Suffering from a severe form of hysteria, the girl refuses to eat. A young doctor, Carl Gustav Jung (Iain Glen), takes her under his care and, for the first time ever, experiments with the psychoanalytical method of his teacher, Sigmund Freud. So begins a sweeping story of love and passion, of body and soul, which soars to the heights but also plunges to the most terrible depths. Sabina's story is discovered many years later in a series of letters by a young researcher, Marie Fanquin Spielrein (Caroline Ducey), who teems up with historian Richard Fraser (Craig Ferguson) to unravel Sabina's secrets.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
It was long assumed that everything was known about the story of Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud, the fathers of modern psychiatry. Then in Geneva, in 1977, boxes were discovered in the basement of the Palais Wilson, the former offices of the Swiss Institute of Psychology, which contained the secret correspondence between Jung, Freud and a hitherto unknown girl - Sabina Spielrein.
The film flits between Sabina (Emilia Fox) and Jung (Iain Glen) in the early 20th century, his treatment that saves her life and their love affair - and her distant relation, Marie Fanquin Spielrein (Caroline Ducey) and Richard Fraser (Craig Ferguson) in the 1970s, discovering the truth through her letters. The former is a story of pain and passion, of Jung's desperation to try and end the affair and Sabina's determination to keep it alive.
In many ways the Jung/Spielrein affair is an extraordinary story, not only as an illicit romance but as one that is linked to Jung's first attempt at using Freud's psychoanalytical methods to help a patient. His affair with the patient created enormous problems for him - and for her, too. But the story gets even more interesting as the later chapters of her life are revealed.
Emilia Fox and Iain Glen are terrific as Sabina and Carl Jung, as are Caroline Ducey and Craig Ferguson as Marie and Richard. Fox is strikingly beautiful but can completely surrender to the character and at the worst times looks dreadful. It's the kind of physical transformation - aided by make up, of course - that makes performances memorable.
The film's production design allows us to move seamlessly across the decades and Andrea Guerra's score is fittingly sombre or dramatic at times, but it's a beautifully judged orchestral work that helps underpin the emotional action.
The odd thing about the film, directed by Italian filmmaker Roberto Faenza, is that it is in English - except for the end credits and the final text card in Italian, which tells what happened to Sabina and her daughter (I think).
Published May 7, 2009
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SOULKEEPER, THE: DVD (MA)
CAST: Iain Glenn, Emilia Fox, Craig Ferguson, Caroline Ducey, Jane Alexander, Vikto Sergachyov
PRODUCER: Elda Ferri
DIRECTOR: Roberto Faenza
SCRIPT: Gianni Arduini, François Cohen-Séat, Alessandro Defilippi, Roberto Faenza, Elda Ferri, Hugh Fleetwood, Giampiero Rigosi
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Maurizio Calvesi
EDITOR: Massimo Fiocchi
MUSIC: Andrea Guerra
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Giantito Burchiellaro
RUNNING TIME: 89 minutes
PRESENTATION: 16:9; DD 5.1
SPECIAL FEATURES: none
DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Beyond
DVD RELEASE: December 1, 2008