Siesta holds a special place in the hearts of Gabriel Byrne fans.

It is one of his earlier films, made during the time in his career when he was relegated to playing roles that were everything but Irish, with every accent possible, but rarely his native Dublin burr. It is a difficult film for many. Obscure? Yes. Experimental? Yes. Complicated? Of course. Sexy? Oh yes. Yes. Yes. All reasons to love it. The film’s protagonist, Claire, played by Ellen Barkin, is called “Claire on a Dare,” but everyone involved with Siesta seemed to be on a “dare,” going beyond their usual range, reaching for an unusual and provocative artistic expression–and often succeeding, though critics of the time did not think so.

Fans (those who have given it a chance, that is) adore it because it brought Gabriel Byrne and his future wife, Ellen Barkin, together for the first time. The word “siesta” may indeed mean “nap time,” but these two do everything but nap in this film.  And there is something about Mr. Byrne appearing as a trapeze artist–dark, he is, and blue-eyed to the point of startlement– that just makes everyone swoon. The music, with Miles Davis providing his amazing sound, offers good reason to swoon as well.

As a film, though, there are problems. Or perhaps they are opportunities. A split up timeline with a narrative that jumps from past to present to future and back again, with characters who may be real or who might be spirits from another place, work to make us unsure of our narrator, the images we are seeing on the screen, and ultimately, our response.

Repeated viewings do lead to a better understanding and reveal imagery and intention that might have been missed the first time around. So, patience is rewarded, in most cases!

The Siesta Mega Movie Page is available to show you just why this film is worth a (re)viewing, with trailers, interviews, posters, reviews from the New York Times and Roger Ebert, trivia, music info, and, of course, tons of pictures and screencaps. A certain segment from the film is not included, however, so you must locate the DVD to enjoy that, but much of the rest of film is represented in official promotional shots and in screencaps provided by Daniela, to whom we give our thanks!

Enjoy a little Siesta. Go on. We dare you!

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11 Comments

  1. That was the most sexyest film ever. Love gb

  2. I agree, Sophia.

    In Italy, “Ciak”, a cinema magazine,in October 2003, published a book, “Sex, the 50 erotic films of history of cinema”.
    Well, Siesta is one of them!

    And Ellen and Gabriel are superb actors!

  3. I would rather wonder about when will Gabriel do a movie with Ellen Barkin again…

  4. Wow it would be wonderful!

    Also in “into the West” they were so beautiful togheter!
    There is a very good alchemy between them….

    I like this idea

  5. sweetbud

    He SMOLDERS!

    Gorgeous screencaps!

  6. Stephanie

    Daniela I LOVE your screencaps. Congratulation.

  7. Thanks, girls.
    But it is been easy (and a pleasure) to do them with two actors like Gabriel Byrne and Ellen Barkin…..

    A BIG THANK to Stella for her wonderful (and cyclopean) work!
    What a lot of informations and curiosity have come to my knowledge about this and other films!

  8. Dear Stella Thank very much for bringing us a lots of information about Gabriel Byrne and his career. When he comes to Brazil please tell us. Patricia (Brazil)

  9. Stephanie

    After this interesting Mega page of Siesta I’m happy to follow the advice of Stella :Repeated viewings for a better understanding. Thanks for your work Stella.

  10. I definitely want to see this film, however Gabe has done so many that there are about 6 others on my ‘must’see’ list before this one. My younger sis goes on and on about how unbelieveably handsome (as in, ‘You will drop your jaw’ type thing) Gabriel is as ‘the sexy doctor’ in ‘Hello Again’. Now this article is getting me thinking about ‘Siesta’ (Ellen Barkin certainly is a looker, is she not?). And yet somehow in my heart I find it hard to believe, that any other Gabriel character will overshadow Lord Byron :). But hey, we never know…

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