Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.
France/Switzerland, 2000. Arcade, Arena Films, CAB Productions, Canal+, Centre National de la Cinématographie, Cofimage 11, Office Fédéral de la Culture, Procirep, TF1 Films Production, Télévision Suisse-Romande. Screenplay by Olivier Assayas, Jacques Fieschi, based on the novel by Jacques Chardonne. Cinematography by Eric Gautier. Produced by Bruno Pesery. Production Design by Frederic Benard, Gerard Marcireau, Jacques Mollon, Ivan Niclass, Katia Wyszkop. Costume Design by Anaïs Romand. Film Editing by Luc Barnier. Cannes Film Festival 2000. Toronto International Film Festival 2000.
A country pastor (Charles Berling) decides to divorce his unfaithful wife (Isabelle Huppert) at the beginning of this epic drama. Giving her a healthy portion of money from his wealthy family in order to appease her, he meets and falls in love with a young woman (Emmanuelle Béart) and the two of them go to live in a secluded village in Switzerland. When his father dies and leaves him in charge of the family’s successful porcelain factory, the two move back to their home town knowing full well that the glory days of their romance are over in the face of real life and practical responsibilities. Handsomely produced, this period drama features excellent acting and a passionate story, but Olivier Assayas’ direction is unusually dry and there’s no relish to watching this grand soap opera unfold. Huppert is criminally underused, while Beart and Berling never break the ice between them.