A history of the French Revolution from the decision of the king to convene the Etats-Generaux in 1789 in order to deal with France's debt problem. The first part of the movie tells the ... See full summary »
Richard T. Heffron
Klaus Maria Brandauer,
Nadja is a guest student, who stays at Cité Universitaire and visits the Sorbonne, while preparing a thesis on Proust. Besides her student life she likes to stroll about Paris, to explore ... See full summary »
Eric Rohmer leads a conversation with Jean Renoir and Henri Langlois on the art of filmmaker Louis Lumière. The cinematographic pioneer Lumière produced thousands of documentaries in the ... See full summary »
An episodic look at Grace Elliott (1760-1823) and Philippe, the Duke of Orleans, during the French Revolution. In 1790, they are friends, no longer lovers. He suggests she leave France, she warns him to quit the Revolution. In 1792, she must escape Paris on foot. Less than a month later, she returns on an errand of mercy and shows great courage saving the governor of Tuileries. The Duke in turn steps in to protect Grace. In early 1793, she demands a promise from the Duke that he vote to spare Louis's life; he does not, and Grace is furious. In April, he warns her of a search; she is arrested and brought before the committee. Orleans, too, is suspect. The guillotine awaits. Written by
Anyone who finds this film boring is a hopeless bonehead who should stick to car chase movies and romantic comedies. This film is riveting and doesn't have a boring moment. Why? Because it is comprised largely of intelligent dialogue between real people in a moment of crisis and details their efforts to survive that crisis. I repeat--intelligent dialogue! That is what characterizes nearly all of Rohmer's films, and that is why a lot of people don't like them. They prefer action. Fine, let them spend the rest of their lives watching action films, while those of us with taste and discrimination will continue to seek out films like this.
Rohmer has always been accused of being "talky." Well, he is, but to me that's a compliment, not a criticism. Shakespeare was talky, too. Is there a talkier play than "Hamlet?" Whenever the subject, or theme, of a work of art consists of ideas and conflicts over values, there must of necessity be a discussion of these ideas and values, an that is largely what this film is all about. Aristocracy and noble birth vs. egalitarianism; loyalty to old friends that is put to the ultimate test when that friend takes what we believe to be a wrong path; the value of human life and the responsibility to help save that life, even if the person possessing that life is not so nice, or even despicable. (Anyone ever hear of Dostoyevsky, or "Crime and Punishment?") These are what this film is all about.
The two leads in this film are impeccable, as if they were born to play these roles. Lucy Russell, who is English and speaks French as her second language, is especially brilliant. Do yourself a favor and see this riveting film. It may be the last film by this screen Master.
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