SIFF ’08 Reviews – Elegy + a tribute to Ben Kingsley

by Tom Cammarata
Musical Assistant to DJ Michele Myers

Sir Ben Kingsley shows again why he is one of the most celebrated actors in world today with a great performance in the movie Elegy. Elegy, an official selection at the Seattle International Film Festival, stars Penelope Cruz, Dennis Hopper, Patricia Clarkson, Peter Sarsgaard, and Deborah Harry. The movie was directed by Spanish director Isabel Coixet whose credits also include The Secret Life of Words (2005) and My Life Without Me (2003).

Sir Ben Kingsley plays David Kepesh, an aging college professor who finds his life turned upside-down by a relationship with a woman 30 years his junior, played by Penelope Cruz. To complicate matters David Kepesh must deal with a fractured relationship with his son, the complexities of a 20 year casual affair with a contemporary played by the beautiful Patrick Clarkson, mortality, and a fear of intimacy and commitment. The film, based on the novel The Dying Animal written by Phillip Roth, brilliantly portrays the battle between a man’s lost youth and shape of his life as an older man.

Elegy provided an excellent portrait of real life issues that older people face each day as they try to balance career, family, romantic relationship, security, and impending old age. I found the movie refreshing in terms of its ability to deal with adult issues and was nice change from X-generation, 20/30-something, teeny-bopper movies that fill the theaters today and pass for life in America. I wish I had something negative to say about the movie but I don’t.

When it screened at the Egyptian Theater last Sunday, Sir Ben Kingsley was on-hand to introduce the movie and was presented with the 2008 Golden Space Needle Award for Outstanding Achievement in Acting. An onstage interview with Sir Ben Kingsley followed the movie.

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