September 21st, 2007



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François Girard in SilkStill of Kôji Yakusho in SilkStill of Keira Knightley in SilkStill of Michael Pitt in SilkStill of Keira Knightley and Michael Pitt in SilkStill of Michael Pitt and Kôji Yakusho in Silk

The story of a married silkworm merchant-turned-smuggler in 19th century France traveling to Japan for his town's supply of silkworms after a disease wipes out their African supply. During his stay in Japan, he becomes obsessed with the concubine of a local baron.

Release Year: 2007

Rating: 5.8/10 (5,822 voted)

Critic's Score: 39/100

Director: François Girard

Stars: Michael Pitt, Keira Knightley, Kôji Yakusho

A married silkworm smuggler, Herve Joncour, in 19th Century France who travels to Japan to collect his clandestine cargo. While there he spots a beautiful Japanese woman, the concubine of a local baron, with whom he becomes obsessed. Without speaking the same language, they communicate through letters until war intervenes. Their unrequited love persists however, and Herve's wife Helene begins to suspect.

Writers: Alessandro Baricco, François Girard

Sei Ashina - The Girl
Michael Pitt - Hervé Joncour
Tony Vogel - Café Verdun Man #1
Toni Bertorelli - Verdun
Keira Knightley - Hélène Joncour
Kenneth Welsh - Mayor Joncour
Martha Burns - Mme. Joncour
Alfred Molina - Baldabiou
Michael Golding - Clerk
Carlo Cecchi - Priest
Chiara Stampone - Béatrice Berbek
Marc Fiorini - M. Chabert
Alexander Brooks - M. Loiseau (as Leslie Csuth)
Toru Tezuka - Japanese Guide
Hiroya Morita - Japanese Elder #1

Taglines: Love knows no borders


Official Website: Official site [United States] |

Release Date: 21 September 2007

Filming Locations: Baba House Museum, Matsumoto, Nagano, Japan

Box Office Details

Budget: $20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: $126,537 (USA) (16 September 2007) (122 Screens)

Gross: $7,551,009 (Worldwide) (8 June 2008)

Technical Specs

Runtime:  | Canada: (Toronto International Film Festival)

Factual errors: When Hervé Joncour is bargaining with the Japanese man, the Japanese man holds up five fingers and says "Go", which when translated to English means five. However, Joncour responds to the man by saying "Four".

[first lines]
Hervé Joncour: Steaming water. Strange trees. Laughing children. Her skin... those eyes. But why should I tell you about it? Why now? Maybe I just need to tell someone about it. And that someone is you.

User Review

A work of Art.

Rating: 9/10

The lemming-like critics thumped this movie as hard as they could. In their reviews words like "limp," "vacuous," "boring," "underwhelming" are thrown around like children toss crayons.

Most of them should be immediately and summarily fired because they are hacks. Along with Once, this is one of the best films of the year.

My suspicions were affirmed today when I felt something was funny about the way all the critics panned Silk like it was an affront to good taste. What an appalling joke. Don't human beings think and feel and perceive like sensitive creatures anymore? Have we become so hard and trite and caught up in our routines that we no longer care about works of art? I'm ashamed to belong to a society that not only rejects but ignores great films and art.

A caveat: See this film alone or with a mature lover but make sure you see it in the theater. Do not attempt to see it with someone who lacks patience or some semblance of artistic vision. Anyone out there who even has a small inkling of the poet in them must see this film.

This movie is about the richness of our senses and perception. The opening scene features a naked woman in a hot spring surrounded by snow. The steam rises as we approach her and we can feel the warmth of the water, the coldness of the air; the exposed, vulnerable nature of our existence and our longing to connect and make contact with another human being, skin to skin.

Of course the film covers other areas but the opener is a nice start. This movie takes its time. When the tea is poured or the snow falls, that's our cue to settle in a little deeper, to feel.


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