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In 1832, cholera ravages Provence (South of France). After several misadventures, Angelo, young Italian officer hunted by the Austrian secret police, meets Pauline de Theus, a young lady. After a second accidental meeting, both will start the search of Pauline's husband in a chaotic country. Written by
Remy Amouroux <Remy.Amouroux@imag.fr>
The Horseman on the Roof has to be one of the most beautiful looking films I've ever seen, which is odd for a movie about a cholera epidemic.
Set in a beautiful summer in the mid-19th century, it follows Olivier Martinez's Italian in exile as he is chased across France by Austrian agents intent on killing as many Italian rebels as they can only for his pursuers to be outrun by a cholera epidemic that picks off friends and foes. Along the way his path crosses with various victims and survivors - a doctor who teaches him a neat disinfecting trick of setting your hands on fire, a cute governess, Jean Yanne's duplicitous peddler, Gerard Depardieu's paranoid mayor, and most importantly Juliette Binoche, who is determined to find her husband. Naturally they become travelling companions as they try to get through roadblocks and avoid being put into quarantine by the soldiers cordoning off the roads
a virtual death sentence - and eventually nearly become more. The
film looks so good in cinemascope and so much of it is terrific than you can just about forgive the fact that the ending is a bit of a washout after everything that's gone before.
A really enjoyable old-fashioned epic, I'd definitely pick this up if it ever turned up on DVD uncut with English subtitles (the Miramax disc is typically cut by 17 minutes thanks to Harvey Scissorhands).
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