Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
Original title: Ne Touchez Pas La Hache
France/Italy, 2007. Pierre Grise Productions, Cinemaundici, Arte France Cinema, Canal+, CineCinema, Centre National De La Cinematographie, MEDIA Programme of the European Union, Procirep, Region Ile-de-France, Ministere de la Culture Italien. Screenplay by Pascal Bonitzer, Christine Laurent, Jacques Rivette, based on the novel La Duchesse de Langeais by Honore de Balzac. Cinematography by William Lubtchansky. Produced by Roberto Cicutto, Martine Marignac, Luigi Musini, Ermanno Olmi, Maurice Tinchant. Music by Pierre Allio. Production Design by Emmanuel de Chauvigny. Costume Design by Maira Ramedhan Levi. Film Editing by Nicole Lubtchansky. 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. Jeanne Balibar plays the duchess who abandons her respectable upper-class life and marriage when she finds irresistible passion with a soldier (Guillaume Depardieu) 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.