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Anna Movie Review

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Anna is a showcase for Sally Kirkland, who tears into the role of a neglected Czechoslovakian actress with all the passion of a neglected American actress who has no time to waste reserving her energy. Kirkland gets down and dirty with this part, and she has the artistic courage to sacrifice her own good looks in order to create a more believable portrait of Anna, who has both good and bad days. Life does things to people, and Kirkland doesn't hesitate to show the extremes. In some close-ups, as when a beloved old teacher brings her to tears, she resembles a small child fearful of being swallowed by the world's promises and its lies. In others, as when Anna realizes that her protegée has borrowed her life story and claimed it as her own, her rage is limitless and we share the agony of the older woman who has no resources left on which to draw, not even memory. “Oscar nomination” is written all over Sally Kirkland's star performance, and yet she is a real ensemble player, too, for her sequences with model Paulina Porizkova and Robert Fields would be nowhere near as moving without a powerful interplay between the characters. Yurek Bogayevicz directs with a sensitive understanding of the realities of the acting profession, and Agnieszka Holland's screenplay offers a sharp perspective on the generational conflicts between women. The film has been compared to both All About Eve and Sunset Boulevard, but it differs from both in significant respects. The expatriate theme, as well as the intense examination of trust lost and trust found, contribute to make Anna a fresh entry in the catalogue of show business sagas.

1987 (PG-13) 101m/C Sally Kirkland, Paulina Porizkova, Robert Fields, Stefan Schnabel, Larry Pine, Ruth Maleczech; D: Yurek Bogayevicz; W: Yurek Bogayevicz, Agnieszka Holland; C: Bobby Bukowski; M: Greg Hawkes. Golden Globe Awards ‘88: Best Actress—Drama (Kirkland); Independent Spirit Awards ‘88: Best Actress (Kirkland); Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards ‘87: Best Actress (Kirkland); Nominations: Academy Awards ‘87: Best Actress (Kirkland). VHS, LV, Closed Caption

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