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The Raft of the Medusa (1998)

Le radeau de la Méduse (original title)
Jean Yanne, Daniel Mesguich, Claude Jade: A la recherche de la fortune et du paradis ils ne connurent que l'enfer.





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After getting painfully separated from the woman he loves, Julien leaves his apartment. He goes in search of his old friends but no one is to be found and the city is silent.

Director: Iradj Azimi
Stars: Laurent Terzieff, Dominique Sanda, Jean Dasté


Cast overview, first billed only:
Duroy de Chaumareys
Claude Jade ...
Reine Schmaltz
Philippe Laudenbach ...
Julien Schmaltz
Alain Macé ...
Henri Savigny
Soldat musicien
Michel Baumann ...
Alexandre Corréard
Théodore Géricault
Victor Garrivier ...
Antoine Richefort
La Tullaye
Jérôme Anger ...
Patrick Potot ...
Jean Le Mouël ...
Marie Matheron ...
La cantinière aveugle
Laurence Hamelin ...
La vivandière


Frankreich 1816: Nach seiner Rückkehr aus dem Exil beruft Louis XVIII den Royalisten Schmaltz zum Gouverneur des Senegal. Gemeinsam mit seiner Frau Reine Schmaltz und einer großen Eskorte reist Schmaltz von Rochefort nach Saint Louis. Doch die unter dem Kommando des starrsinnigen Chaumareys stehende Fregatte "Méduse" läuft vor der Küste Senegals auf eine Sandbank. Während sich die privilegierten Passagiere neben der Familie des Gouverneurs in Rettungsboote flüchtet, bleibt 150 Besatzungsmitgliedern nur ein Floß, das von den Schaluppen abgeschleppt werden soll. Doch Chaumareys kappt die Abschleppseile und das Floß treibt aufs offene Meer. Es folgen zwölf Tage voller Hunger, Durst, Kannibalismus. Nur sechs der Schiffbrüchigen überleben und die Tragödie, die zum großen Polit-Skandal wird, inspiriert den Maler Géricault zu seinem berühmten Gemälde "Das Floß der Medusa"... Azimis Film kam erst im Sommer 1998 in die Kinos. Written by Cisnadie <Karl.Fleischer@munich.netsurf.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis





Release Date:

15 July 1998 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Das Floß der Medusa  »

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Did You Know?


Production began in 1987, but was interrupted when Hurricane Hugo demolished the sets. Finally finished in 1990, it did not get distributed until director-writer-producer Iradj Azimi slashed his wrists before officials of the French Ministry of Culture. See more »


Referenced in Asterix and Obelix Meet Cleopatra (2002) See more »

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User Reviews

as awesome as Géricault's famous painting
4 October 2003 | by See all my reviews

A movie inspired by a tragic maritime event happened in 1816 and a movie produced in France and in Iran, "le radeau de la Méduse" is a movie that required 4 years of work! During this very long time, you feel that the director, Iradj Azimi significantly put a lot of time and effort in his project. But his efforts weren't vain at all because the result is terrific.

In his movie, Azimi's speaking to the spectator. It means that he tries to understand and explain us how such the "Méduse" drama could happen. Thus, his directing turns out to be rigorous, precise and sometimes inventive. There's also a quiet but sustained use of the voice-over.

If the director chose to shot his film with a special photography (that spawned several gorgeous pictures), it's because he wanted to find similar colors again as the ones used on Géricault's famous painting. It deals with dark but a little shiny colors. This photography gives more strength to the dramatic side of the story. You can also notice that Azimi decided to shot the appalling castaways' living conditions with a minimum of reserve. Thanks to this, it avoids the movie to fall into the sordid.

A stunning movie supported by a quite weird but fascinating photography and Jean Yanne's extraordinary performance.

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