In Majorca, in 1823, a French general, Armand de Montriveau (Guillaume Depardieu), overhears a cloistered nun singing in a chapel; he insists on speaking to her. She is Antoinette (Jeanne Balibar), for five years he has searched for her. Flash back to their meeting in Paris…
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if you already hate books, do not watch this, you will hate them even more. every excellentlyl-done "anti" campaign is initially planned as a well-intended promotion. and this looks like an anti-balzac campaign.
On one level, a variation on La Belle et la Bete where Depardieu is both a human and beastial Marais and Balibar is Maria Cesares as Antoinette de Langeais. Yet also a Lubitsch romance under the gaze of Lang. Protagonists constantly seen walking though doors but never into, or out of, bed, while games which disguised their motives ultimately reveal their obsessions and "the pace that kills along the road to ruin."
The work of a Master. Rivette and Balibar (in an amazing performance) tease out the virgin coquette's contradictions without cheating any of her complexities. Rivette eschews the purple of the book but clarifies its relation to 2 of his own themes: the Great Love that cannot be begun or ended; and private spaces which restore personal sanity even while replicating the maddening demands of society as in a mirror.
I have only seen Jeanne Balibar in “Va Savoir” before, but it feels like she was born for the role of Antoinette de Navarreins - the hairdoes, the dresses, the flirtatiousness and the suffering suited her perfectly!
A priori, on serait évidemment tenté de penser que cent-trente-sept minutes de film costumé, plus est du Balzac d'époque, pourrait s'avérer mortellement ennuyeux, voire d'un introuvable intérêt narratif ou cinématographique. Nenni, les amis, c'est plutôt lumineusement brillant, d'une désarmante finesse introspective et d'un subtil jeu d'acteurs souvent impeccable. www.cinefiches.com
Reminded me of that Bergman quote in Passion of Anna, "I accepted the humiliation..." Stay away from this kind of woman, only bad experiences can happen. I try to get away after the first mean sentence if I spot one.