Based on the number one international
bestselling novel by Alessandro Baricco, SILK is a sweeping
romantic drama woven around a material of ethereal
fragility. Directed by acclaimed filmmaker François Girard
(THIRTY-TWO SHORT FILMS ABOUT GLENN GOULD, the Academy
Award®-winning THE RED VIOLIN), SILK stars Michael Pitt
(LAST DAYS, THE
DREAMERS, THE VILLAGE), Keira Knightley (PIRATES OF THE
CARIBBEAN, PRIDE & PREJUDICE), Alfred Molina (SPIDER-MAN 2,
FRIDA, THE HOAX), and Koji Yakusho (BABEL, MEMOIRS OF A
The roguish French trader Baldabiou (Molina) holds between
his fingers a veil woven from Japanese silk thread. It is
like holding. . . nothing.
“You know what this is?”
Baldabiou asks the mayor of the town of Lavilledieu.
“Women’s stuff,” the mayor replies.
“Wrong,” the trader answers. “Money. Man stuff.”
Silkworm eggs. In one’s palm one could hold thousands of
them. When the pébrine epidemic— the spotted silkworm
disease that ravaged eggs from European hatcheries in the
1860s—spread overseas, eggs from as far away as Africa and
India became infected and the entire European silk trade
To continue his lucrative trade, Baldabiou decides to send
the young military officer Herve Joncour (Pitt) on a
perilous mission to Japan, separating him for months on end
from Helene (Knightley), his lovely and devoted
schoolteacher wife. The island that produced the finest silk
in the world for thousands of years prior to the opening of
the Suez Canal, Japan was forbidden to foreigners.
“This place, Japan, where precisely is it?” Herve asks.
“That way and keep going,” Baldabiou says, raising the tip
of his cane and pointing beyond the roofs of Saint-August.
“Right to the end of the world.”
To reach this mysterious land, Herve will journey through
Europe, first traveling by train from Vienna, through
Moravia, and onto Kiev. There he will hire a caravan to
cross the Russian steppes, 3,000 miles of ice and storm, and
sail across the sea on a smuggler’s ship. He will be
secreted from a Yamagata harbor into the island’s interior
and be led, blindfolded, to a snow-covered village of
thatch, wood, and bamboo, tucked into the snowy Fukushima
It is here that Herve encounters the powerful and feared
local baron, Hara Jubei (Yakusho), with whom he will trade
for the precious silkworm eggs. And it is here, in a world
unlike anything that Herve has experienced before, that he
becomes entranced by the baron’s concubine, a deeply
mysterious girl of intoxicating beauty. Without speaking one
another’s language, together they share a doomed, obsessive
love . . .
A film of painterly beauty and ravishing romance, SILK is an
historically rapturous epic romance of East meets West.
© Picture House. All
MORE MOVIE REVIEWS
Submit Your Movie Review