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The Five Senses (2000)

Mary-Louise Parker , Gabrielle Rose , Jeremy Podeswa  |  R |  DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Mary-Louise Parker, Gabrielle Rose, Philippe Volter, Daniel MacIvor, Pascale Bussières
  • Directors: Jeremy Podeswa
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: New Line Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: January 23, 2001
  • Run Time: 106 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00003CXMJ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #118,821 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Five Senses" on IMDb

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Through taste touch sight hearing and smell secret lives of five troubled characters unfold until each is drawn out of their protective shell into a world that re-ignites the passion in their souls. Starring Mary-Louise Parker (Fried Green Tomatoes)Running Time: 96 min.System Requirements:Running Time 96 MinFormat: DVD MOVIE Genre: DRAMA Rating: R UPC: 794043515729

Though set in Toronto and directed by Canadian Jeremy Podeswa, The Five Senses evokes the emotional geography of Krzysztof Kieslowski's Trois Couleurs trilogy. Mightn't the senses do as well as colors to signal a chance-driven world where urban isolates miss and make connections in gloomy corridors and apartments, overcast parks, rainy streets, half-finished constructions? But Podeswa's almost aimless cutting among a clutch of apartment dwellers (each identified with smell, sight, taste, hearing, or touch) is more like a warm bath in easy solutions (or sad songs) than a bracing glimpse into the human condition. A masseuse named Seraph (Gabrielle Rose, The Sweet Hereafter's bus driver) ministers to a weeping boy unable to recall when he was last touched, but she can't reach out to her own daughter (Nadia Litz), a self-loathing teen with a taste for voyeurism. Down the hall, a music-loving ophthalmologist (Philippe Volter) sinks deeper into loneliness as he begins to go deaf. Upstairs, Rona (Mary-Louise Parker), who designs gorgeous but inedible cakes, is unable to quite trust the joyously sensual appetite of her Italian-chef boyfriend. Searching for true love by smell, Rona's bisexual friend Robert (Daniel MacIvor) discovers passing pleasure in a designer perfume with the power to conjure an unexpected liaison. If this were The Sweet Hereafter, the fate of the little girl who goes missing at the start of Podeswa's film might shadow these "sensualists" into radical transformation, perhaps even parole them from the prison of self. But The Five Senses never gets that far under the skin. Still, there is something pleasantly hypnotic, even liberating, about the way Podeswa drifts lightly over surfaces, never getting caught in the net of narrative. --Kathleen Murphy

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking Canadian masterpiece. August 27, 2001
"The Five Senses" is a profound film about what it means to be human, and about the loss of innocence and the yearning for touch, for comfort, for love. Set in Toronto, it follows the lives of around a dozen characters over a three-day period. The central theme is based on the exploration of the five senses and how these senses or lack of them influence our lives. The main premise is that a toddler has gone missing while under the care of a masseuse's alienated daughter.
The film follows the lives of the people who live in the same building as well as the people that are related to the missing child. Rona, the baker who turns out gorgeous cakes that have no taste and her Italian live-in boyfriend Roberto, an aspiring chef, represent taste. Richard, a French opthamalogist who is going deaf and Gail, a prostitute that he has hired to listen to music with him, explore sound and its absence. 16-year old Rachel is deeply alienated and confused. There are hints to sexual abuse when she was younger, she dropped out of school, and along with her newfound friend Rupert she explores voyeurism and gender roles, representing sight. Robert is a bisexual housecleaner who is desperate for "the right one," so much so that he meets with former lovers to sniff them, believing he has the ability to smell love. Ruth is a widowed masseuse and the mother of Rachel. She has the ability to use touch to soothe others but longs for comfort herself.
For me the most touching story was that of Richard. Having my life revolve around music I have often pondered what would happen if I began to lose my hearing. It is one of the most frightening things that I can think of.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a work of art January 28, 2001
In movies, as in most other art forms, the greatest of works often come in the smallest of packages. Such is the case with "The Five Senses," an independent Canadian production that chooses for its subject nothing less profound than a meditation on what it means to be human. Writer/director Jeremy Podeswa has fashioned a work of great poetic form and insight centered around a group of people who share the universal need to find true love and acceptance in a world where wounded and shattered relationships all too often result in magnified loneliness and despair. Like all of us, each of these characters gropes towards the dual goals of intimacy with others and acceptance of oneself that are essential for human happiness. Some succeed, while others fail - just as in life - but none of the characters is left unchanged by the experience.
"The Five Senses," though it has a plot, is more of an emotional mood piece than a narrative-driven drama. Blessed with an outstanding ensemble cast, Podeswa is able to draw us in to the center of his world through the use of sensory imagery and deliberate, methodical pacing. In fact, one of the strongest themes running through the film is its examination of the part our senses play in defining our world and character. Podeswa understands that we have become desensitized to our senses. As a result, he uses this film to reconnect us to that crucial element of our beings. The quiet, hushed tone, the muted autumnal colors, the slowly moving camera, the haunting musical score all combine to create an atmosphere in which the audience can become conscious of every sight and sound that comes our way.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Little known masterpiece -- find it, savor it, share it! September 20, 2008
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
First, I should admit that I am biased toward this film to start. I adore movies that have several different characters -- or several different storylines -- that begin weaving together and intensifying as the film builds to its climax. There have obviously been many films that have attempted this. Some have had more commercial, popular success, while others have succeeded in creating something more subtle and beautiful. "The Five Senses" definitely falls into the second category. If your favorite kind of film is murder, mafia, gang wars, and/or "lots of stuff blows up", this movie might put you to sleep. If you appreciate a movie that allows you a slice of life -- a moment, a day, a short period in a life where suddenly everything shifts for characters so real you're instantly enamored with them, then find this movie. The details, both in the dialogue, and on the actors' faces, as well as in color and music and setting, draw the viewer right in. I FELT for these characters, I hurt for them in their awkward, painful, yearning moments. Another reviewer here has mentioned that this film came from the writer musing on Diane Ackerman's book, "A Natural History of the Senses". If that is true, I'm excited to read the book, and see the differences, see how the book and lovely language becomes the muse for something as visual and populated as the film.

Other films that weave separate stories together into one story: "Crash", "Things You Can Tell Just By Looking At Her", "Magnolia", "The English Patient" (somewhat), "Vantage Point", "Love Actually" ... "The Hours" (also a book, as is "The English Patient"), "Evening" (book first) .....
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Item came as promised
Published 2 months ago by Luisito L. Tongson
2.0 out of 5 stars Bad foreign cinema!!
I'm sorry, this movie is a disjointed disaster. It certainly doesn't live up to the hype nor its premise--supposedly some exploration of the five senses. Read more
Published 2 months ago by WKT
5.0 out of 5 stars For sensitive people
For sensitive viewers, very delicate film.
Not an action film but a film for feelings, nuances, instintcs.
For a rainy Saturday afternoon.
Published 4 months ago by Maria E. Clavell
5.0 out of 5 stars An Intelligent and Thoughtful Film!
I liked this intelligent and thoughtful Canadian film a lot! You really get involved with the decent characters and the predicaments they face during a few days in Toronto. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Cuthbert J. Twiddle
5.0 out of 5 stars So Sensual
I never get tired of watching this film. It is so beautiful and forces one to slow down. Some people find that boring, but I would probably find their shallowness boring. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Transatlantique
"Nothing can cure the soul but the senses." Oscar Wilde

This unusual, engaging and sometimes provocative Canadian film, written and directed by Jeremy Podeswa, is a... Read more
Published on March 4, 2010 by Robin Simmons
3.0 out of 5 stars A Good Movie
Not a great movie. Not a five-star classic that I'm going to watch again and again. Not what I'd expect to win all the awards it has. But it's good. Read more
Published on August 31, 2008
5.0 out of 5 stars "Nothing can cure the soul like the senses" Oscar Wilde
THE FIVE SENSES is a film metaphor, a study of people all interconnected in a Canadian city whose characters are representative of the Five Senses; touch, smell, vision, hearing,... Read more
Published on December 17, 2004 by Grady Harp
4.0 out of 5 stars Using the Body to Reach the Soul
It seems that year after year, Canadian cimena becomes the more soulfull in the world. Films like Egoyan's "Exotica" and "Sweet Hereafter" have been aclaimed world wide, but this... Read more
Published on February 19, 2002 by A. T. A. Oliveira
3.0 out of 5 stars Quirky French-Canadian romanticism
To understand exactly what writer/director Jeremy Podeswa tries to accomplish with 'The Five Senses,' it's first necessary to know where the idea for this quirky little film... Read more
Published on December 26, 2001 by Marc Cabir Davis
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