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It's late 17th century. The viola da gamba player Monsieur de Sainte Colombe comes home to find that his wife died while he was away. In his grief he builds a small house in his garden into which he moves to dedicate his life to music and his two young daughters Madeleine and Toinette, avoiding the outside world. Rumor about him and his music is widespread, and even reaches to the court of Louis XIV, who wants him at his court in Lully's orchestra, but Monsieur de Sainte Colombe refuses. One day a young man, Marin Marais, comes to see him with a request, he wants to be taught how to play the viola. Written by
Daniel Bjoerkman <Daniel.Bjoerkman@p16.lurivax.ct.se>
[in French, using English subtitles]
Open your mouth so we can hear you. I can't follow you. You're not listening. You're going too fast. Let's start over with the first notes of the song. Stop! The Master has signalled. The Master would speak. Speak, Master.
Each note should end dying.
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'Tous les matins du monde' is more an experience than a movie. The brainchild of director Alain Corneau, writer Pascal Quignard, and musician Jordi Savall this film integrates the visual with the historicodramatic and the music that created the idea and bathes it in the most sensuously beautiful cinematography of a period (the 17th century) by Yves Angelo who is given the sets and design and costumes by Bernard Vézat and Corinne Jorry that create image after image of masterful still life. The total integration of the work of these masters is the plinth on which the actors offer the memory of two famous composers in French classical music history.
Saint-Colombe (Jean-Pierre Marielle) is a viol player and composer whose wife (Caroline Sihol) dies young leaving him to raise his two daughters young Madeleine (Violaine Lacroix) and young Toinette (Nadège Teron)whom he teaches his art of viol de gamba performance while sequestering himself and his girls in the countryside. Into their garden comes the young handsome son of a shoemaker, Marin Marais (Guillaume Depardieu, the son of Gerard Depardieu) who commits to learning the viol and eventually becomes a court musician only to fall in love with Saint-Colombe's elder daughter Madeleine (Anne Brochet) whom he eventually leaves for the glories of the court. As an adult (Gérard Depardieu pere) he realizes his error and returns to the Saint-Colombe sanctuary where he learns the true meaning of music as being something beyond words and thus something beyond human.
In the course of this quiet little film and in the dramatic lighting of the production design we hear the music of Couperin, Lully, as well as compositions by Marais and Saint-Colombe. Jordi Savall supplies the incidental music that binds these works and offers the viol playing together with a talented group of musicians. The story is small, the dialogue sparse (primarily Depardieu pere narrating his experience as Marais) and for the novice the film could be slow. But the incandescent beauty both visually and aurally make this film a work of art that has not been equaled since its appearance on the scene in 1991. It is a treasure. Highly recommended. Grady Harp
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