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Clive Langham (Sir John Gielgud) spends one tormenting night in his bed suffering from health problems and thinking up a story based on his relatives. He is a bitter man and he shows, through flashbacks, how spiteful, conniving and treacherous his family is. But is this how they really are or is it his own vindictive slant on things?
The film contains a unique variety of visual techniques which illustrate Langham’s internal editing of his material. We watch one scene evolve, and after several minutes, Langham decides that the dialogue is all wrong. The scene is performed again with different dialogue accompanying the basic actions of the scene. The most unusual example of internal editing is a scene between Dirk Bogarde and Ellen Burstyn. Burstyn enters the frame on the left side through a door. The camera then follows the characters in one continuous shot as they walk to the other side of the room, as their conversation progresses. In the end, Burstyn returns to the side of the room where the door was. Now the door is gone, and she must descend a flight of stairs for her exit from the scene.
The film won seven César Awards, including Best Film, Best Director and Best Editing, as well as the New York Film Critics Circle Award for John Gielgud.
Although he was one of the preeminent theatre actors of the 20th century, Gielgud felt that this was his only completely successful attempt at film acting.
The bipartite structure of Providence has been identified by critics as a precursor to David Lynch's Lost Highway (1997) and Mulholland Drive (2002).
Source : Wikipedia.