Illuminata is the 1998 movie that, some say, is a romantic theatrical comedy from the award-winning director John Turturro. Illuminata is based on the play by Brandon Cole. The movie is romantic in story, about the world of the theatre, and yes, it is a comedy. It is also a story that is semi-biographical for both John Turturro and Brandon Cole individually.
Illuminata has a storyline focused on the central character John Tuccio, who is played on screen by director John Turturro. At the beginning of the 1900s is where the tale starts. John Tuccio is a theatre company writer, who along with the stage company is looking for an original script to put on for the public. Tuccio offers a play he has been working on called Illuminata.
The New York-housed theatre company turns down Illuminata, then brands it an unfinished work and not stage worthy. To get Illuminata produced, Tuccio and fellow friends within the production group conspire together. All this activity is guided by the plans of Tuccio's love interest Rachel, theatre owner Asterground, New York media critic Umberto Bevalaqua, and a string of theatre company members.
Performances of note are played by Christopher Walken as Umberto Bevalaqua, but also Susan Sarandon as local actress Celimene. There are interesting developments between the various characters, that make this one a plot worthy of it's praises. Even with such perks, Illuminata has remained a lesser known movie. Those film buffs who have not seen Illuminata, should hold back no longer.
Another point of interest is the amazing puppetry used in several sequences, with artist Roman Paska at the creative helm. Additionally the cinematography crafted by Harris Savides is striking, by choices of shots and his eye for the stage in film formula.
Illuminata has a positive message at its core and will be loved by artists working in the theatre for sure. It is a message of pride and strategy, all held together by friendships. The dramatic humor of the backstage world is brought alive in Illuminata.