Honoré de Balzac was a man who lived to write. His life was a hard, permanent struggle, from his cold relationship with his mother who was unable to give him the love he needed, to his ... See full summary »
Honoré de Balzac was a man who lived to write. His life was a hard, permanent struggle, from his cold relationship with his mother who was unable to give him the love he needed, to his unsuccessful attempts to make money out of printing and publishing books. Balzac never gives up, however - even though his dissolute lifestyle keeps landing him in trouble with his creditors. To finally gain acclaim for his works and to earn enough money to survive, Balzac works like a man possessed, day and night, to the brink of exhaustion, drinking liter upon liter of coffee to keep himself awake. The passionate author also tends to go to excess in affairs of the heart - he has several woman friends at the same time, all of them very different from each other. They include the kind, caring and elderly Madame de Berny, and the egotistical, ambitious Laure d'Abrantès, who introduces Balzac to the salons of upper-class society. Balzac's heart belong to just one person alone, however: Eve Hanska, a ... Written by
Usually made-for-TV biographies of artists are pretty silly: there's just too much concern to get all the major works mentioned without taking care also to bring the person to life. I did enjoy Drach's Maupassant, with a terrific Claude Brasseur, and now I've seen Josee Dayan's Balzac and like it a lot.
The actors tear into their parts with such gusto. Depardieu is really feeling his way through the part, and his lover in life as well as in this film, Fanny Ardant, does a great job as Eve Hanska. Virna Lisi as his first lover Mme de Berny was very touching; she knew she couldn't hold on to him forever, given that she was two decades older than Balzac. Jeanne Moreau has got a froggy old woman's voice now, and she uses it to great effect. The lack of any great love between mother and son comes out in their scenes.
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