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The Libertine (2000)
"Le libertin" (original title)

6.1
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The 'philosopher' (modernist intellectual of the French 18th-century Enlightenment) Denis Diderot is part of an aristocratic circle which practices the libertarian principles on the rural ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Madame Therbouche
...
La Baronne d'Holbach
Michel Serrault ...
Le Cardinal
...
La Marquise de Jerfeuil
Christian Charmetant ...
Le Marquis (Chevalier) de Jerfeuil
Françoise Lépine ...
Madame Diderot
François Lalande ...
Le Baron d'Holbach
...
Le Marquis de Cambrol
Arnaud Lemaire ...
Le Marquis de Lutz
...
Julie d'Holbach
...
Angélique Diderot
Yan Duffas ...
Abraham
Véronique Vella ...
La Cousine de Jerfeuil
...
Le Chef de la police
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Storyline

The 'philosopher' (modernist intellectual of the French 18th-century Enlightenment) Denis Diderot is part of an aristocratic circle which practices the libertarian principles on the rural castle estate of the baron of Holbach, and prints their forbidden publication, the Encyclopédie, drowning the noise of the presses in Jewish assistant Abraham's organ playing. Then arrives Madame Therbouche, a flirtatious painter, from the Prussian metropolis Berlin, and convinces Diderot to pose for her more daring then his idol fellow-philosopher Voltaire in Berlin: in the nude, leading to an animated row with his wife Antoinette, still naked except for a very unsteady sheet, all over the estate's park. Worse, the saucy scene is witnessed by a feared visitor, Holbach's brother the Cardinal, who is hunting for the illegal Encyclopaedia printers; to divert him, the baroness confesses her real and imagined sins since years and next sends in every female to do the same, later joined spontaneously by ... Written by KGF Vissers

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Comedy | History

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Release Date:

15 March 2000 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Le libertin  »

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An irresistibly funny comedy
15 August 2002 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

The film starts with a bawdy song unmistakably naughty and then follows ever so much suggestive but clever dialogue. There is wicked and mischievous goings-on in and around a beautiful home on the road between Paris and Avignon. This is where Denis Diderot (Vincent Perez) is compiling and printing his banned multi-volume encyclopaedia. My goodness! I had no idea that a 17th Century philosopher could have so much fun putting into print some of his thoughts and experiences. "If it's natural" he says "It must be good for you". He not only says it, but practises it, and no woman seems safe from his ardent approaches.

Amongst all the farcical nonsense, there is some heavy satire on the church's attitude to sex. exotic foods such as chocolate and caviare, musical scores (the pig organ is a delight) and banned literature. Vincent Perez as Diderot plays the character superbly wearing a delightful smile though not much else when he poses for his portrait by the beautiful Madame Therbouche, a so-called painter from Berlin though actually a spy arranged by the Cardinal. Her mission is to locate the clandestine printing presses.

There is plenty of action in the film (and never a dull moment) as Diderot prances naked around the surrounding gardens much to the disgust of the Cardinal. Much of the action is around the Cardinal who must be prevented from finding the printing presses. This is easily arranged by recruiting as many ladies as possible to seek confession of their sins before the Cardinal. Besides attending to his clerical duties, he seems not uninterested in their wickedness.

Finally Diderot falls in love with Madame Therbouche as he seeks her assistance in the preparation of Volume X111. She agrees of course and why not? The last volume is to be all about sensuality, a subject in which both of them are so well versed.

An absolute delight!


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