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Nostradamus (1994, Tchéky Karyo, F. Murray Abraham)

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Although Michel De Nostre Dame died in 1566, he predicted the French Revolution, the assassination of John F Kennedy, the atomic bomb and two World Wars in the 20th century. The 16th century French seer is better known as Nostradamus, and his prophetic pronouncements have fascinated millions of people for generations. This enthralling ‘biopic’ offers an insight into an extraordinary man and also depicts many of Nostradamus’s visions. ‘Nostradamus is a contemporary figure, I think he is a man of light for our times,’ says director Roger Christian, explaining why he believed in the seer’s relevance with the approach of the millennium.

The drama is set at the height of the plague and the Inquisition. Nostradamus (TCHEKY KARYO) is a young scientist with radical views (he advocates herbal cures rather than bleeding), a position that makes him an enemy of the Holy Inquisition. His revolutionary ideas land him a post in the household of heretical scientist Scalinger (F MURRAY ABRAHAM), where he meets Marie (JULIA ORMOND).

The couple fall in love, marry and start a family, although tragedy strikes when Marie and the children die of the plague. Engulfed in the worlds of both astronomy and medicine, Nostradamus is afflicted by nightmarish visions in which he sees future disasters awaiting mankind. Word soon spreads of the seer’s mystical gifts and, after marrying a Spanish widow (ASSUMPTA SERNA), he is called to the court of the French Queen, Catherine de Medici (AMANDA PLUMMER). As his bloody predictions continue, Nostradamus is himself dependent on the Queen to protect him from the equally bloody Inquisitors.

A visually stunning spectacle, Nostradamus is a fascinating portrait of a man everyone has heard of but few know much about. French actor Tcheky Karyo makes for a charismatic prophet, while F Murray Abraham gives his best performance since his Oscar-winning turn as Salieri in Amadeus.

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production details
France – Germany – Romania – UK | 119 minutes | 1994

Director: Roger Christian
Writers: Knut Boeser, Piers Ashworth, Roger Christian

cast
Tchéky Karyo as Nostradamus
F. Murray Abraham as Scalinger
Rutger Hauer as The Mystic Monk
Amanda Plummer as Catherine De Medici
Julia Ormond as Marie
Assumpta Serna as Anne
Anthony Higgins as King Henry II

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Alastair James is the editor in chief for Memorable TV. He has been involved in media since his university days. Alastair is passionate about television, and some of his favourite shows include Line of Duty, Luther and Traitors. He is always on the lookout for hot new shows, and is always keen to share his knowledge with others.

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