The Unbearable Lightness of Being

Milan Kundera's 1984 international bestseller of love and erotica set against the Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia has been regarded as essentially unfilmable by many observers, so Philip Kaufman has pulled off a near-miracle in creating this richly satisfying adaptation.

With:
Daniel Day-Lewis Juliette Binoche Lena Olin Derek de Lint Erland Josephson Donald Moffat

Milan Kundera’s 1984 international bestseller of love and erotica set against the Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia has been regarded as essentially unfilmable by many observers, so Philip Kaufman has pulled off a near-miracle in creating this richly satisfying adaptation.

Tomas, a top surgeon and compulsive ladies’ man in Prague, takes in and eventually marries a lovely country girl, Tereza. He continues his womanizing, however, particularly with his voluptuous mistress Sabina, an artist who takes off for Geneva as soon as Russian tanks put a halt to the Prague Spring of 1968.

The sexuality which drenches the entire film possesses a great buoyancy and spirit in the first act, set during the exciting liberalization of communism under Alexander Dubcek. Second act, in Geneva, is comparatively somber and spare, but is punctuated by Sabina’s new affair with a married man and by the growing friendship between Sabina and Tereza.

As played by Juliette Binoche and Lena Olin, the two women are absolutely enchanting; Binoche is adorably doll-like while Olin is simply striking as a woman who lives her sexual and artistic lives just as she pleases.

Attractive in some ways, Tomas is irritatingly uncommunicative and opaque at others, and Daniel Day-Lewis at times overdoes the self-consciously smug projection of his own appeal.

1988: Nominations: Best Adapted Screenplay, Cinematography

The Unbearable Lightness of Being

Production: Zaentz. Director Philip Kaufman; Producer Saul Zaentz; Screenplay Jean-Claude Carriere, Philip Kaufman; Camera Sven Nykvist; Editor Walter Murch, B.J. Sears, Vivien Hillgrove Gilliam, Stephen A. Rotter; Music Mark Adler; Art Director Pierre Guffroy

Crew: (Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1988. Running time: 171 MIN.

With: Daniel Day-Lewis Juliette Binoche Lena Olin Derek de Lint Erland Josephson Donald Moffat

More Film

  • Berlin Film Festival Berlinale

    Asian Brilliant Stars Take Wider Perspective for Second Edition

    Milan Kundera’s 1984 international bestseller of love and erotica set against the Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia has been regarded as essentially unfilmable by many observers, so Philip Kaufman has pulled off a near-miracle in creating this richly satisfying adaptation. Tomas, a top surgeon and compulsive ladies’ man in Prague, takes in and eventually marries a […]

  • Australian Animation ‘Arkie’ Sold to Vision

    Australian Animation ‘Arkie’ Sold to Vision for China Release

    Milan Kundera’s 1984 international bestseller of love and erotica set against the Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia has been regarded as essentially unfilmable by many observers, so Philip Kaufman has pulled off a near-miracle in creating this richly satisfying adaptation. Tomas, a top surgeon and compulsive ladies’ man in Prague, takes in and eventually marries a […]

  • CineAsia Hands Out Prizes as Hollywood

    CineAsia Hands Out Prizes as Hollywood Mega-Deal Looms

    Milan Kundera’s 1984 international bestseller of love and erotica set against the Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia has been regarded as essentially unfilmable by many observers, so Philip Kaufman has pulled off a near-miracle in creating this richly satisfying adaptation. Tomas, a top surgeon and compulsive ladies’ man in Prague, takes in and eventually marries a […]

  • Spurlock, Jacir, Cooke, Yousra, El Ganainy

    Spurlock, Jacir, Cooke, Yousra, El Ganainy at Variety Studio Dubai

    Milan Kundera’s 1984 international bestseller of love and erotica set against the Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia has been regarded as essentially unfilmable by many observers, so Philip Kaufman has pulled off a near-miracle in creating this richly satisfying adaptation. Tomas, a top surgeon and compulsive ladies’ man in Prague, takes in and eventually marries a […]

  • Irrfan Khan, Anup Singh Talk 'Lasya,'

    Irrfan Khan, Anup Singh Talk 'Lasya,' ‘Scorpions’

    Milan Kundera’s 1984 international bestseller of love and erotica set against the Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia has been regarded as essentially unfilmable by many observers, so Philip Kaufman has pulled off a near-miracle in creating this richly satisfying adaptation. Tomas, a top surgeon and compulsive ladies’ man in Prague, takes in and eventually marries a […]

  • Disney Appoints Carol Choi as Korea

    Disney Appoints Carol Choi as Korea GM

    Milan Kundera’s 1984 international bestseller of love and erotica set against the Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia has been regarded as essentially unfilmable by many observers, so Philip Kaufman has pulled off a near-miracle in creating this richly satisfying adaptation. Tomas, a top surgeon and compulsive ladies’ man in Prague, takes in and eventually marries a […]

  • DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - DECEMBER

    Dubai: Festival President Abdulhamid Juma on Growing The Market And Opening to TV

    Milan Kundera’s 1984 international bestseller of love and erotica set against the Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia has been regarded as essentially unfilmable by many observers, so Philip Kaufman has pulled off a near-miracle in creating this richly satisfying adaptation. Tomas, a top surgeon and compulsive ladies’ man in Prague, takes in and eventually marries a […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content