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Film Review - Bel Canto

Paul Weitz and Anthony Weintraub’s screen adaptation of Ann Patchett’s novel, Bel Canto, deftly weaves romance into a taut hostage drama.
Roxane Coss (Julianne Moore), an international opera star (vocals courtesy of RenĂ©e Fleming) has been asked to sing at a diplomats’ dinner in an unnamed South American country. The evening is in honour of a Japanese industrialist, Hosokawa (Ken Watanabe), who has long admired Coss. They are abruptly thrown together when the mansion is overrun by insurgents, hoping to confront their country’s president. When the rebels discover he has declined the dinner invitation, in order to watch his favourite telenovela, they decide to take the men and Roxane hostage. Their demand is simple: the release of all political prisoners.
A tense standoff ensues. Sebastian Koch plays a member of the Red Cross who ineffectually tries to negotiate the release of the hostages. The resulting stalemate leaves the rebels in despair while the hostages wile away their hours pl…