The Duchess Of Langeais (2007)

JACQUES RIVETTE

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB

Original title:  Ne Touchez Pas La Hache

France/Italy, 2007.  , , , , , , , , , .  Screenplay by , , Jacques Rivette, based on the novel La Duchesse de Langeais by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by , , , , .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  Toronto International Film Festival 2007.

Another foray into the world of the magnificent Jacques Rivette, this time adapting the work of Honore de Balzac to his own style.  plays the duchess who abandons her respectable upper-class life and marriage when she finds irresistible passion with a soldier () who has gone out of his way to woo her. When his fickle attentions begin to dissipate, she risks destroying her reputation completely before making one big, bold gesture that will set her on a completely new path. Stripping away all the social and economic commentary that made Balzac so rich, Rivette pares it down to the essentials of emotional interplay and, in doing so, creates something vibrant and bewitching. Slow and moody as all his films tend to be, it is nonetheless as passionate as his greatest works and overwhelming to look at with its gorgeous drawing rooms and lushly colourful gowns.

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