The Cinematography of Tess

Tess is surely among the most beautiful films that Roman Polanski has made. The director, shooting in the French countryside in Normandy and Brittany, traded the intentionally claustrophobic aesthetic of so many of his films (Repulsion, Rosemary’s Baby) for an expansive, widescreen visual sense, giving this detailed version of Thomas Hardy’s classic book Tess of the d’Urbervilles the feel of a true movie epic. The director was assisted in visualizing Tess by a duo of incredible cinematographers: Geoffrey Unsworth (2001: A Space Odyssey), who died during shooting, and Ghislain Cloquet (Au hasard Balthazar), who replaced him. The two would end up sharing an Oscar for their work on Tess. Watch a beautifully shot scene from the film below, in which the peasant girl Tess (Nastassja Kinski, in her first major role) resists the charms of the nobleman Alec d'Urberville (Leigh Lawson).

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