‘Breaking and Entering’ centers on intrusion

Heather West

British filmmaker Anthony Minghella played a variety of roles throughout his 27-year career.

While he may be best known for writing and directing the 1996 Oscar-winner “The English Patient,” Minghella’s subsequent work proved that he was just as comfortable in the producer’s office as he was in the director’s chair.

His 2007 film “Breaking and Entering” was one of the last to showcase his abilities as writer, director and producer simultaneously.

He died unexpectedly earlier this year at the age of 54.

“Breaking and Entering” is largely a film about intrusion – its characters both force their way and are forced into each other’s lives, ultimately with catastrophic results.

Similarly, Minghella forces his audience to see a side of London it may not be prepared for.

Drawing inspiration from an actual break-in in his own London office and channeling his childhood experiences as the son of Italian immigrants, Minghella outlines a world in which casual encounters have serious consequences.

Jude Law (who appears in three of Minghella’s films) stars as Will Francis, an ambitious architect determined to transform London’s King’s Cross slum into a thriving neighborhood.

When a series of thefts threatens to forestall his plans, Francis is determined to catch the culprits.

His investigation leads him out of his comfort zone and into the world of Bosnian immigrants Amira Simic (Juliette Binoche) and her son, Miro.

Intrigued by his new acquaintances, Francis quickly discovers that his feelings for Amira could potentially shatter his pristine, upper-class life in Primrose Hill.

Like its director, “Breaking and Entering” resists categorization.

Part drama, part mystery and part action thriller, the film plays on the tension between King’s Cross society and its environment and between the people and the architecture.

While his protagonist is determined to change the buildings, Minghella focuses on the inhabitants of those buildings.

The film darts between long, aerial shots of the city and more intimate shots of its people, until, ultimately, human relationships take center stage.

The sixth film in the Cultural Film & Lecture Series “In Memoriam,” “Breaking and Entering” will be shown four times in the Connelly Cinema from Oct. 25-27.

Showtimes are Saturday at 7 p.m., Sunday at 3:30 and 7 p.m. and Monday at 7 p.m.

Admission is free for students and $5 for all others.

The Monday showing will feature Desmond Ryan, former movie and theatre critic for The Philadelphia Inquirer, who will introduce the film and lead a discussion afterward.

For more information, contact the communication department at x9-4454 on weekdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., or consult the CFS Web site: www.culturalfilms.villanova.edu.