Una Pura Formalita (English Subtitled) 1995 PG-13

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(69) IMDb 7.9/10

Onoff is a famed author who has become a recluse in recent years, publishing nothing. One night, he is picked up by police officers, who find him running across the French countryside in the rain, breathless and apparently suffering from short-term memory loss. A murder has been committed in the nearby woods, and suspecting Onoff's involvement, the authorities detain him at a leaky, dark command post to await the arrival of an inspector, ironically a fan of Onoff's work...

Starring:
Gerard Depardieu, Roman Polanski
Runtime:
1 hour 53 minutes

Una Pura Formalita (English Subtitled)

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Product Details

Genres Thriller
Director Giuseppe Tornatore
Starring Gerard Depardieu, Roman Polanski
Supporting actors Sergio Rubini, Nicola Di Pinto, Tano Cimarosa, Paolo Lombardi, Maria Rosa Spagnolo, Alberto Sironi, Giovanni Morricone, Mahdi Kraiem, Massimo Vanni, Sebastiano Filocamo, Timothy Martin
Studio Lionsgate
MPAA rating PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Rental rights 24 hour viewing period. Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

I thought the screenplay was great--a totally unpredictable story and the ending is thought provoking.
Lmccra
Even if you're not a fan of these two actors or theatre scripts made into film you will still be guaranteed to like this film by it's end.
josh
APF will push your emotions in unexpected directions, working as drama, fairy tale, and spiritual exegesis.
Banitac

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Robert Beveridge HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on March 4, 2003
Format: VHS Tape
Una Pura Formalita (Giuseppe Tornatore, 1993)

I have now seen two of Giuseppe Tornatore's films (the other being the brilliant The Legend of 1900), and have decided that I will be hunting the man's work down wherever I can find it. A Pure Formality doesn't have the same mastery of pace that 1900 does, but the good points of the film overwhelm the bad ones to the extent that the viewer is likely not to care if the first half of the movie goes a tad slow.

The film centers around an author named Onoff (Gerard Deaprdieu), who is found wandering in the rain, senseless, in the vicinity of a rural murder. He is taken to the strangest police station this side of Pirandello. The head of the station is out for the moment, and Onoff is able to size up the rest of the oddballs working there before the top dog, played by Roman Polanski, gets back. Then the fun really begins; Onoff has lost pieces of his memory, and while the Inspector tries to figure out if Onoff committed murder, Onoff is busy trying to figure out if he did, too. As a catch, to throw everything off just a tad more: the Inspector is also Onoff's biggest fan, and can quote large passages of his books from memory, something of which Onoff himself is incapable, leading to doubts on the part of everyone involved whether Onoff is really who he thinks he is.

Part mystery, part farce, part existential manifesto, A Pure Formality could easily be relegated to that wasteland of films in this genre summed up by a recent commercial featuring a pardocial art-house classic called Look At My Potato. And for the first forty-five or so minutes of the movie, it teeters on the brink of that sort of senselessness.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Banitac on June 29, 2005
Format: VHS Tape
This psychological excursion neither taxed my patience nor disappointed my desire for resolution. There is a narrative thread, but very broken and evasive. The two leads box cinematically in their portrayals of two men seeking or evading the truth in a murder--but the real story lies in what is learned, by the characteres and the audience, about life, love, art, faith, and compassion.

APF will push your emotions in unexpected directions, working as drama, fairy tale, and spiritual exegesis. Humor, pathos, fear, doubt, and peace each occupy the emotional core of various scenes, often simultaneously.

Amazon.uk already has a DVD available in widescreen. When can American customers hope for a non-PAL region 1 DVD?
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By N. Anwer on October 23, 2002
Format: VHS Tape
I have seen countless movies and read countless books, and not once I have ever been compelled to write any sort of review for any of them. However, as you may have noticed I have made an exception for this movie, it is a testament to how great I think this movie is.
First of all I urgue you not to read the reviews of this film that give away the ending unless you have already seen the film.
The premise is that a reclusive Author Onof ( Gerad Depardieu ), is being interogated by an unnamed detective ( Roman Polanski) as a possible murder suspect. Through a series of questions the detective finds out Onofs identity as one of the most famous French Authors, in fact, he himself is a huge fan.
THe sequences of events that follow are bizzare, yet wonderfull. The language is pure poetry. And technically speaking the Cinematography and lighting are simply gorgeous.
A bulk of the movie is centered around the Detective questioning Onof, and during this time we learn about his life. These little stories make for some great humanistic moments.
While I dont want to reveal too much, the ending ties in everything, all the loose ends. However, the ending is more than simply that, it has to simply be seen to be appreciated.
My only wish would be that this movie is transfered to DVD. Please someone get this movie transfered to DVD, and with a ton of special features. Even if it has to be Criterion, please make the DVD!!!!!!!!!
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Trevor Willsmer TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 5, 2005
Format: VHS Tape
'A Pure Formality' was, to my surprise, one of the very best films I've seen in a long time. I'd seen snippets of the Italian version on Italian TV and the English-language one on US cable, neither encouraging me to delve further, but in its original French, with both Polanski and Depardieu voicing themselves, it manages to turn a potentially hoary old psychodrama into something much more life affirming.

Depardieu is the confused great writer arrested in the middle of a rainstorm and taken to a dark, leaking Italian police station where he is interrogated by Roman Polanski's inspector, who also happens to be an ardent fan, over the identity of a murder victim. Naturally, layers of self-deception are gradually pulled away on this long dark night of the soul before it reaches a not entirely unexpected but still remarkably satisfying conclusion. Despite the claustrophobic setting, Giuseppe Tornatore's excellent composition keeps it vividly cinematic, with several memorable moments (the most impressive a beautiful sequence following a song as it floats through the room). The flashbacks are sometimes awkward and I could definitely have done without Depardieu's nudity, but this is still one of the most remarkable films I've seen in recent years. Two-thirds through the movie a power cut hit for two-and-a-half hours, and it was excruciating waiting to get the chance to finish the film.

Very highly recommended indeed. However, the deleted UK PAL DVD is less than perfect. The English subtitles are non-removeable, there is a synchronisation problem on the sound at one point and it only offers the French-language version (although both Polanski and Depardieu use their own voices). The only extra is the Italian trailer.
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