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September 16, 1999
Holy Smoke Rouses Critics In Venice
A P Kamath
Kate Winslet, the star of Titanic, the most successful film ever made, says she has been longing for many years for the kind of role she has in Jane Campion's newest film, Holy Smoke, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival last week and opens in New York in a few weeks.
The movie, made for about $ 20 million -- Titanic cost about $ 180 million -- could not only become an art-house hit but also get Winslet an Oscar nomination.
Partly shot in India, Holy Smoke is primarily an emotional and mental duel between a young woman (Winslet) and her family, which is trying her to get out of the cult of an Indian guru. The de-programmer (Harvey Keitel), the family chooses, is a cult into himself. But soon the cult-buster is thrown off his seemingly firm base.
Winslet has been getting more praise for her acting range in Holy Smoke than any one of the half a dozen films she has starred in, including Hideous Beauty which came soon after Titanic and sank without many people noticing.
'Kate Winslet is magnificent,' said the reviewer in Le Monde.
The Times in London wrote: 'Brilliantly acted and directed, this is that rarity, a serious comedy that goes to the limit in both directions.'
Miramax, which mined several major Oscars last year with Shakespeare In Love, is giving the movie a major push, hoping to harvest a slew of nominations early next year.
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