(out of 5)
Sometimes flat but often engrossing adaptation of Marcel Proust’s novel, directed by Academy Award-winner Volker Schlondorff (The Tin Drum). Jeremy Irons plays an aristocrat in 19th-century Paris who won’t let go of his first consuming love for a famous courtesan (Ornella Muti). Though she does conduct an affair with him, she makes no effort to appease his desire of being his and his alone, driving him to an obsessive jealousy that makes him a mockery among his friends. Schlondorff’s camera is slow and sturdy, but the script sometimes gets too brainy and prevents you from getting too engrossed in the characters’ emotions (a similar story in a similar setting like The Age of Innocence is much more passionate by comparison). The lush settings and fantastic acting more than make up for the film’s drawbacks. Two standouts in the supporting cast are small appearances by two of France’s greatest actresses, Fanny Ardant and Marie-Christine Barrault.
Directed by Volker Schlondorff
Cinematography by Sven Nykvist
Produced by Eberhard Junkersdorf, Martin Wiebel
Production Design by Jacques Saulnier
Costume Design by Yvonne Sassinot de Nesle
Film Editing by Francoise Bonnot