Presence of Mind

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Presence of Mind
Directed byAntoni Aloy
Written byAntoni Aloy
Barbara Gogny
Mitch Brian
Based onThe Turn of the Screw by Henry James
Produced byEnrique Cerezo
StarringSadie Frost
Lauren Bacall
Harvey Keitel
Jude Law
CinematographyAntoni Aloy
David Carretero
Edited byBela María da Costa
Richard Halsey
Music byÁngel Illarramendi
Robb Navrides
Enrique Cerezo PC
Distributed byCargo Films
Columbia TriStar Films de España S.A.
Release dates
  • September 1999 (1999-09) (Deauville Film Festival)
  • April 20, 2001 (2001-04-20) (Spain)
Running time
94 minutes
  • Spain
  • United States
Budget$3,000,000 (est.)

Presence of Mind (Spanish: El celo) is a 1999 Spanish-American drama film directed by Antoni Aloy and starring Sadie Frost, Lauren Bacall, Harvey Keitel, and Jude Law. The film is based on the 1898 novella The Turn of the Screw by Henry James.


A woman is hired to watch over two recently orphaned children, Flora and her brother Miles (played by Nilo Mur). The woman starts seeing ghosts and the children begin some very peculiar and disturbing behavior.



The film was produced by Enrique Cerezo Producciones Cinematográficas, with the association of TVE and Canal+.[1] Frost has described the filming as intense due to the needs of the role of the Governess and having to be in every scene.[2] Filming took place at the Raixa Estate in Mallorca, Spain[3] on a budget of $3 to 5 million and took 29 days to complete.[4] It marked Aloy's feature film directing debut.[5] Aloy has stated that he wanted the film to focus on "the sentimental bonds that are established between the governess and the child".[6]


Presence of Mind released in September 1999.[7] It screened at the 48th San Sebastián International Film Festival in 2000.[8] It was also released in Spain as El celo.[9] The film was screened as part of the Cinema d'Autor a l'Augusta at the University of the Balearic Islands in 2009.[10]


Critical reception has been mixed.[11] Variety reviewed the film, writing that "Everything that's subtle and open to interpretation in James' novel of evil, possession and ghosts is lurid and obvious here, with a star turn by Sadie Frost that's unauthoritative to say the least and arch support from Lauren Bacall that gives the drama a ripple of unintentionally camp humor."[1] Sight & Sound was also dismissive, as they felt that "as a measure of how James' text can be milked for terrible gothic grandstanding, Presence of Mind was exemplary."[12] The New York Times also noted that "it seems to want the distinction of being the most uncomfortable ''Screw'' adaptation."[13]

Philip Horne was more favorable, calling it "impressively atmospheric, and successfully unsettling".[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Rooney, David (2000-10-16). "Presence of Mind". Variety. Retrieved 2022-05-26.
  2. ^ "Sadie & Co". Sunday Telegraph ( August 29, 1999.
  3. ^ Guides, Insight (2014-04-01). Insight Guides: Explore Mallorca. Apa Publications (UK) Limited. ISBN 978-1-78005-732-3.
  4. ^ Palma, g rodas (2009-02-19). "El director Antoni Aloy confiesa que con la película ´El celo´ tocó "el cielo y el infierno"". Diario de Mallorca (in Spanish). Retrieved 2022-05-26.
  5. ^ "Star 'Turn'". The Record ( April 7, 1999.
  6. ^ D, L. (2001-04-17). "El mallorquín Antoni Aloy dirige a Lauren Bacall y Harvey Keytel en "El Celo"". Libertad Digital - Cultura (in European Spanish). Retrieved 2022-05-26.
  7. ^ Sülter, Björn; Krauss, Reiner; Petrik, Bettina; Walch, Thorsten; Anton, Uwe; Trinley, Alexandra; Schmidt, C. R.; Dannhauer, Andreas; Prahl, Reinhard (2021-03-31). Phantastika Magazin #356: Januar/Februar/März 2021: If you can dream it, you can do it! (in German). In Farbe und Bunt Verlag. ISBN 978-3-95936-284-9.
  8. ^ Rodas, Gabi (3 October 2022). "Antoni Aloy, protagonista de un documental en el Festival de Sitges". Diario de Mallorca. Prensa Ibérica.
  9. ^ Griffin, Susan M. (2021-10-21). Henry James Goes to the Movies. University Press of Kentucky. ISBN 978-0-8131-8541-5.
  10. ^ Balears, Universitat de les Illes. "El director de cinema Antoni Aloy presenta el film El celo a la segona temporada del cicle Cinema d'Autor a l'Augusta - Hemeroteca - Diari de la UIB - Universitat de les Illes Balears". (in Spanish). Retrieved 2022-05-26.
  11. ^ "La tuerca de James gira una vez más". La Voz de Galicia (in Spanish). 2020-01-24. Retrieved 2022-05-26.
  12. ^ Sight and Sound. British Film Institute. 2001. p. 17.
  13. ^ Huls, Alexander (October 13, 2020). "A Good Time to Bring Back The Ghosts of Henry James". The New York Times.
  14. ^ Duperray, Annick (2006). The Reception of Henry James in Europe. Bloomsbury Academic. p. 271. ISBN 978-0-8264-5880-3.

External links[edit]