National Catholic Register

Arts & Entertainment

Videos on Release

BY Loretta G. Seyer

July 4-10, 1999 Issue | Posted 7/4/99 at 1:00 PM

 

Baby Geniuses

As a comedy, Baby Geniuses is a misfire with a preposterous plot. The megalomaniacal Dr. Elena Kinder (Kathleen Turner) is the chair of Babyco, the world's largest maker of infant products. In addition to searching for incessant corporate profits, Kinder is bent on cracking the secret language all babies use to communicate with one another. She's hired the tough researcher Dr. Heep (Christopher Lloyd) to conduct a series of language experiments on a collection of orphaned babies. Opposing Kinder is Sly, a 2-year-old genius who is determined to liberate the orphaned babies, as well as her niece (Kim Cattrall) and her niece's researcher husband (Peter MacNicol). This sweet couple runs a baby nursery and conducts research into infant language as a sideline. Complications ensue, and, naturally, everything comes to a preordained end. But few audience members will really care, except for those who adore cute babies.

U.S. Catholic Conference Ratings adults and adolescents

The Seventh Chamber of Edith Stein

Subtitled “An Interpreted Life,” The Seventh Chamber of Edith Stein is a powerful exploration of this newly canonized saint's journey to God. Written and photographed in an evocative, occasionally expressionistic style, this Pauline video release — in French with English subtitles — explores important episodes in this great and still controversial martyr's life. Stein (Maia Morgenstern), who was born to an intellectual Jewish family in Breslau, Germany, followed an extraordinary path. After years of studying philosophy, writing, teaching and professing atheism, she encountered the works of St. Teresa of Avila. This led to Stein's conversion to Catholicism and ultimately to her entry into a German Carmel. But the new Carmelite couldn't remain in the security of her convent. The grim political situation in Nazi Germany forced her and her sister, a fellow Carmelite, to join a Carmel in Holland. From there, in 1942, the two women were sent to Auschwitz. The Seventh Chamber of Edith Stein, which originally appeared on European television in 1995, is a demanding and stark work about a demanding, stark and loving saint.

The Marquise of O

Directed and written by Eric Rohmer, the great French auteur of cinematic morality plays, The Marquise of O is an engrossing look at the meaning of innocence and honor. The screenplay, based on a novel by Heinrich von Kleist, recounts the dreadful dilemma that confronts the Marquise of O (Edith Clever), a virtuous young widow and mother of two, who mysteriously finds herself pregnant during unsettled times in early 19th-century Europe. The marquise, a perfect daughter to the upright governor (Peter Luhr) of a northern Italian town and his loving wife (Edda Seippel), has no idea of how she became pregnant or who the father of her child is.Complicating her predicament is the ardent courtship of the Russian count (Bruno Ganz) who rescued her from a violent rape when her home city was sacked by Russian forces. At first glance, The Marquise of O — in German with English subtitles — is a still and controlled movie, but lying underneath the surface of this new video release are intense emotions and intriguing moral questions.

—Loretta G. Seyer