(out of 5)
Enjoyable costume drama from France is as empty-headed as a low-rent romance novel. An epidemic has broken out in a peaceful region in France during the nineteenth century, plunging the countryside into terror and chaos. Italian rebel soldier Olivier Martinez finds himself in a near-abandoned home looking for shelter from the commotion when he comes upon a sole resident of the manor, a young woman (Juliette Binoche, who had an offscreen romance with her handsome co-star at the time the film was made) who refuses to leave out of fear. The two set out on a journey, with him escorting her safely through the mess they’re surrounded by, but can they get through without getting infected by the terrible disease themselves? Beautifully decorated and costumed, this film is a bit laughable only because of how hard it tries to convince you of its grand importance, when really it’s a silly romance that makes for a momentary but enjoyable indulgence. Look for cameos by a host of famous French actors including Gerard Depardieu.
Directed by Jean-Paul Rappeneau
Cinematography by Thierry Arbogast
Produced by René Cleitman
Music by Jean-Claude Petit
Costume Design by Franca Squarciapino
Film Editing by Noelle Boisson