Mayersberg's first feature is as richly allusive and as teasingly multi-layered as his scripts for Roeg, The Man Who Fell to Earth and Eureka. The basis is a Patti Hearst-style tale of an heiress, kept more or less secluded in a castle by her doting tycoon father, who is kidnapped by terrorists from equally privileged backgrounds and subjected to a mixture of brain-washing tortures and love until she comes to recognise the sham of her life. It's a film about change, about discovery of self and the rejection of received values. But it is also a fairy-tale, a nightmare, an operatic fantasy (the music is marvellous) in which unreality holds sway right from the spellbound opening evocation of a turreted castle in the moonlight. Thereafter, as the princess is rescued from her ogre-father by the young Japanese terrorist who sets up as her Prince Charming, a complex weave of parallels and mirror images illuminates the path of her discovery that she has escaped one captivity merely to fall into another. Stunningly shot and with a knockout performance from Oliver Reed, it's as strange and magical a movie about childhood as Les Enfants Terribles.
Cast and crew