Total Eclipse (1995)

R  |   |  Biography, Drama, Romance  |  3 November 1995 (USA)
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Young, wild poet Arthur Rimbaud and his mentor Paul Verlaine engage in a fierce, forbidden romance while feeling the effects of a hellish artistic lifestyle.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Isabelle Rimbaud
Félicie Pasotti ...
Isabelle, as a child (as Felicie Pasotti Cabarbaye)
Nita Klein ...
Rimbaud's Mother
James Thierrée ...
Frederic (as James Thiérrée)
Emmanuelle Oppo ...
Denise Chalem ...
Andrzej Seweryn ...
Mr. Maute De Fleurville
Christopher Thompson ...
Christopher Chaplin ...
Charles Cros
The Judge
Mathias Jung ...


In 1871, Paul Verlaine (1844-1896), an established poet, invites boy genius Arthur Rimbaud (1854-1891) to live with Paul and his young pregnant wife, Mathiltde, in her father's home in Paris. Rimbaud's uncouth behavior disrupts the household as well as the insular society of French poets, but Verlaine finds the youth invigorating. Stewed in absinthe and resentment, Verlaine abuses Mathiltde; he and Rimbaud become lovers and abandon her. There are reconciliations and partings with Mathiltde and partings and reconciliations with Rimbaud, until an 1873 incident with a pistol sends one of them to prison. Codas dramatize the poets' final meeting and last illnesses. Written by <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Impassioned by genius. Inflamed by desire. Imprisoned by love. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sexuality and nudity, language, and some startling violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:


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Release Date:

3 November 1995 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El fuego y la sombra  »

Box Office


$339,889 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


This movie has Leonardo Dicaprio's first onscreen kiss (with costar David Thewlis) See more »


In the Café Andre where the adult Isabelle Rimbaud meets with Paul Verlaine, the typeface on the window is clearly in Helvetica, a typeface that was not created until 1954. See more »


[first lines]
Paul Verlaine: Sometimes he speaks in a kind of tender dialect of the death which causes repentence, of the unhappy men who certainly exist, of painful tasks and heartrending departures. In the hovels where we got drunk he wept looking at those who surrounded us, the cattle of poverty. He lifted up drunks in the black streets. He had the pity a bad mother has for small children. He moved with the grace of a little girl at catechism. He pretended to know about everything, business, art, medicine. ...
See more »


Remake of Teljes napfogyatkozás (1989) See more »

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User Reviews

"I'm always chasing Rimbauds"
29 September 2000 | by (Cherry Hill, New Jersey) – See all my reviews

It's a good thing not too many people saw this film when it came out [no pun intended], because, if any of DiCaprio's female fans had seen him in this, one of his best early roles, his career would have been over well before he was involved in "Titanic." And that's because he's so utterly convincing as the tortured, bisexual teen genius poet Arthur Rimbaud, that it would undoubtedly set many of those young ladies to wondering if he'd played the part a little TOO well, if you get my meaning. If ever there was any such thing as a male femme fatale, It's Leo right here. Rumor has it that he tried to have the video pulled a few years ago, right after his "Titanic" success. It's a good thing he wasn't successful, because I think that this film rates right along with "The Basketball Diaries" as possibly his best performance.

But it takes two to tango, at least in this case, and David Thewlis is almost as good opposite DiCaprio as Paul Verlaine, who began as Rimbaud's mentor and wound up as his long-time lover. As Verlaine was ugly and overweight, whereas Rimbaud was lithe and handsome, the two seemingly would have made an unbelieveably odd couple physically, but were drawn together more by their mutual likes and dislikes rather than physical attraction. And that's what you sense through all of their scenes together, a meeting of minds more than a meeting of bodies.

There were many who praised this movie, there were many who hated it, but love it or hate it, it holds a strange fascination which makes you remember it long after you've seen it.

65 of 76 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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