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What Would You Risk For Love? 

Year: 2002 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (XWide) 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  

Talk about a movie with an international feel – Heaven was written by two Poles (Krzysztof Kieslowski and Krzysztof Piesiewicz), directed by a German (Tykwer), stars both an Australian (Blanchett) and an American (Ribisi), and is set in Italy. As if that weren’t exciting enough, Kieslowski (the Trois Couleurs trilogy) wrote the script just before he died, leaving Tykwer (Run Lola Run) in a similar - albeit far less publicised or scrutinised - situation to Steven Spielberg’s attempt to bring Stanley Kubrick’s A.I. to the big screen.

In one of the film’s first scenes, we see British schoolteacher Philippa (Blanchett) packing what appears to be some kind of bomb and briskly making her way toward a skyscraper in downtown Turin. Philippa’s goal is to kill the chairman of a large electronics company who she believes is also a drugs baron indirectly responsible for the deaths of her husband and one of her students.

When the bomb is unwittingly moved after Philippa plants it, four innocent people lose their lives, while her target escapes without a scratch. Assuming her plan was successful (she hears the explosion while walking away from the building), Philippa almost seems proud when she’s arrested. Her euphoria is quickly shattered when investigators reveal the extent of her bomb’s damage in a wild and heartbreaking interrogation scene. The police assume Philippa is a terrorist and demand to know who she’s working for and what her target was. They refuse to believe her story about drugs barons, even though she swears she made numerous calls and wrote letters to the Carabinieri, who ignored her pleas to investigate the drug situation.

When Philippa insists on testifying in English, Filippo (Ribisi), a young officer, is brought in to translate. He’s the only one who believes her story, and he soon finds himself falling in love with Philippa.

If someone had said there were parallels between Kieslowski and Tykwer before seeing Heaven, you might have scoffed at the suggestion, but both filmmakers love getting down to stories about fate and love. In fact, Heaven often feels more like a Kieslowski film than a Tykwer film. Kieslowski intended Heaven to be the first of a trilogy (he loved the idea of series of different lengths) loosely based on Dante’s Divine Comedy, and while we are robbed of the possibility of seeing his vision for the remaining two instalments (Hell and Purgatory), you have the opportunity to see one of Poland’s greatest filmmakers’ final work. Don’t miss it!

Patrice Olivier

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Screenings of this film:

2002/2003 Summer Term (35mm)