Who was Moliere? He is known everywhere as one of the world's greatest playwrights. But who was he? Born Jean-Baptiste Poquelin in 1622, the son of a prosperous tapestry maker. His mother ... See full summary »
Who was Moliere? He is known everywhere as one of the world's greatest playwrights. But who was he? Born Jean-Baptiste Poquelin in 1622, the son of a prosperous tapestry maker. His mother died when he was a boy. Growing up in the teeming streets of 17th century Paris, Jean Baptiste received a good Jesuit education and was fascinated by the street fairs and traveling carnivals that flourished in spite of the religious repression and hypocrisy of those cruel times. As a young man he joined the theatrical Bejart family to establish the Illustre-Theatre, which soon went bankrupt. The troupe reformed, found patronage, and went on the road for thirteen years, performing all over France. Poquelin developed his stagecraft adapting Commedia dell Arte plots to please brutalized peasants and cynical townspeople. He also married Madeline Bejart, the widowed daughter of the troupe's founder. Later he entered into a love affair with Mme Bejart's daughter, to the dismay of all. The troupe eventually... Written by
John Christopher <email@example.com> revised by John Chapot
Molière is one of the greatest French writers of all time, so it was almost inevitable that the cinema takes an interest in the man by devoting him a movie. It's Ariane Mouchkine who made this biography, she's a woman of the theatre and the manager of the theatre company: "the Theatre of the Sun". However, her movie isn't a filmed stage production because she introduces a lot of life and movements in her making. Moreover, there isn't one sole scenerie but a thousand various sceneries! In another hand, the performance of the actors isn't theatrical, except, of course, when they're on stage. The movie, you can guess it, was expensive but it was worthwhile! An important budget enabled a meticulous reconstruction of the seventeenth century: the costumes and sceneries are magnificient and the muddy streets of the towns are very realistic. The movie mainly focuses on the most important events of Molière's life: his childhood, his student years, his beginnings in the theatre and his success in the court of Louis XIV in spite of "Tartuffe"'s scandal . Some of these events will later inspire him for his plays. For example, at the beginning of the movie, Molière's mother dies of a fatal disease and the doctors are powerless to heal her. More serious: they don't hesitate in feasting and eating in Molière's house. This last one understood that doctors are only profiteer charlatans and that medicine is far from being efficient. He'll ridiculise them later in some of his plays. Besides, it's not only Molière's character who interests Mouchkine but all an era: the seventeenth century with all its miseries, its grandeurs and its contradictions. Nevertheless, the end of the movie is a bit disappointing. Molière's life after 1666 and until 1673, date of his death, isn't clearly made. It's during this era that he knew his hour of glory by writing unforgettable plays despite his disease ( he suffered from tuberculosis) . It would have been interesting to see him writing and performing these plays on stage. At last, Philippe Caubère is an excellent Molière and in the end, in spite of its length, "Molière" is simply a beautiful movie.
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