Philippe de Broca is widely esteemed for the excellence of his unconventional films and those who feel that LE CAVALEUR is in the top rank of the director's large body of work have ample reason to so believe, as a viewing of this wise and witty affair will make plain to most. The essence of this delightful exercise in comedic irony is a perception by renowned concert pianist Edouard Choiseul (Jean Rochefort) that his romantic successes with women will soon end and that he must discover a new and fixed purpose among life's potentialities in order to achieve lasting satisfaction. Frenzy marks Edouard's existence as he blends his amorous forays into a continuous schedule of concerts, recitals, recording sessions and pedagogy, confounding his frustrated wife (Nicole Garcia), mistress (Catherine Alric), and booking agent (Lila Kedrova), among others who wish to share his life. Preponderant among the film's attractions is the droll dialogue of Michel Audiard that de Broca employs as marrow for his scenario of the splendidly photographed effort, shot in beauteous Bretagne and paced by the director in a masterful manner so that a viewer cannot doubt that he is being led to an appropriate conclusion. The talented players are fine throughout with their readings, Garcia gathering the laurels for her nuanced performance as Edouard's tolerant second wife, with other superb turns from cabaret trained Rochefort, the beautiful Alric, ever refined Danielle Darrieux as Edouard's love during The Resistance, Annie Girardot playing his still smitten first wife and Catherine Leprince as the very young and final possessor of his heart, while de Broca skillfully utilizes his extras. Compositions by Beethoven, Bach and Schumann are of great importance within the blithe storyline, and among many others who capably contribute efforts are cinematographer Jean-Paul Schwartz whose camera and lighting expertise is strongly in evidence, Eric Moulard with creative set designing and costumer Catherine Le Terrier whose Nina Ricci styled gowns worn by Darrieux and Girardot are exceptional; editing is flawless for this sophisticated film during which de Broca unapologetically flirts with broad comedy without becoming its prey.
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