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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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Les Matins is a film for those who have lived enough of life to know that it is a complex mix of pain and joy, with much of it pain, but much of that pain resulting from the greatest of lost joy. Pain that could even eventually give a form of joy again, if it is introspective and searching enough to move one to realize that devastating pain is merely the other side of ecstatic joy. Interrelated, indivisible, and necessary to each other for the severe lessons they teach us as a result of the strength of their inseparable unity.
This primary point was driven home time after time in Les Matins to the point where even the most abject hardheart would soon feel the story's full impact, that the shallow and mediocre fluff of life, no matter how rich, no matter how acclaimed, cannot provide an offset to the bitter agony of lost perfect love, sublime adoration that is well understood in this particular case never to come again to Sainte-Columbe and would surely be less welcome to him in his suffering than would tortured death, no matter how sweet that new love might be to another person less soul-stricken. As the story formed fully, it was seen that death would eventually be a comfort to him by finally joining him with his adored lost love and thereby ceasing his intense worldly torture. His would be a death that ended our collective hope in the discovery of more elegiac beauty in any future music he could have written, but it served to force us to appreciate more fully the few soulful and heart rending pieces he painfully but adoringly accomplished while writing at his personal creative zenith, his apogee in, and as a result of, paramount human suffering. This is a common theme told in many stories through the years, yes, but it is as real and stunning in this film as was ever done in any medium.
Les Matins is the best film story of an artist I have ever seen due to the honesty in which it understands and conveys to the audience the inescapable agony felt by a fatally tortured, artistic genius, and how that agony moved him to write his greatest music.
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