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A Talking Picture Image

Generally favorable reviews - based on 14 Critics What's this?

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Mixed or average reviews- based on 10 Ratings

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  • Summary: A young history professor and her seven-year-old daughter embark on a cruise through the Mediterranean Sea and befriend three famous women of different nationalities. (Kino International)
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 14
  2. Negative: 0 out of 14
  1. As a nonagenarian, de Oliveira is the world's oldest working filmmaker, and still one of the best. This is a lovely, lively, timely treat for the eyes and mind.
  2. In both its intellectual reach and the elegant simplicity of its form, A Talking Picture bears resemblance to Andrei Sokurov's "Russian Ark."
  3. It's a great film that, sadly, may be ignored by all but the most dedicated, knowledgable filmgoers.
  4. This is full of talk in the European art cinema tradition: intellectual conversations (often in multiple languages at once), gentile dinner conversation with an international all-star guest list.
  5. 75
    Moves along its tranquil way until about five minutes before the closing credits, when it turns into a terrorist thriller.
  6. Reviewed by: Walter Addiego
    A potent and troubling meditation on the state of Western society.
  7. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    This intermittently interesting symbolic tour through European history once again places ideas over aesthetics and technique.

See all 14 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 6
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 6
  3. Negative: 2 out of 6
  1. ChadS.
    Mar 27, 2006
    The little girl is innocent, but her mother, an academic, should've known what ownership of that doll signified. The climax is unsettling, yet its full impact is somewhat undermined by the maverick, yet ungainly way the film is structured. "A Talking Picture" sputters when we pull away from the history professor and her daughter, and centers on the small party at the captain's table. There's an intellectual reason for this gambit, but it's exceedingly long and boring. On the other hand, the exceedingly long conversations in which the mother imparts knowledge to her inquisitive little girl, either through her or with help from a local, are also tedious, but the history lessons, while boring us, act as a form of parental love. Expand
  2. EduardR.
    Feb 20, 2006
    I thought this was an excellent film with a stark and poignant commentary on the muslims' answer to our modern civilization.
  3. DanC.
    Jan 29, 2006
    Horrible, pretentious, art-house fare. And this from a viewer who likes (good) art house movies and foreign films! This film reminds me of bad free jazz - comprehensible only to those who play (or direct) it, alienating to and dismissive of the audience, self-consciously "serious" without having a shred of entertainment or passion to it. I hated this film, all the more so becuase the premise has so much potential. But the terrible, stilted dialogue with John Malkovich and his three international ladies is at once excruciating, embarrassing, and boring. This is the kind of European film that is funded entirely by the government, makes no impact, has nothing to say, and represents the vanity of the director and little else. Zero stars. Expand

See all 6 User Reviews