Dostoevsky-inspired drama set in 1900s Prague about a bored arrogant playboy who spends time seducing other men's wives and dueling. He begins an affair with his friend's wife, but falls in love with her. She becomes pregnant. Is it his?
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Prejudice, perfidy, love, and bravery in Québec. In 1779, a priest on his deathbed receives a young woman. Flash back 20 years: Marie-Loup, an herb-dispensing peasant, falls for François, a man of property. The priest's perfidy and the treachery of a soldier separate the lovers and set in motion a chain of events leading to a death, a trial, and an execution. The action unfolds against a backdrop of England's take-over of French-Canada, the Church's manipulations to maintain spiritual hegemony, and the limited rights of woman and indigenous peoples. Watching it all is Marie-Loup's daughter, named France, who, when grown, is the dying priest's visitor in prelude and coda. Written by
Ultimately, this movie is a Brazilian soap opera. There are intrigues and billets-doux. The pop theme, recorded by an orchestra in Prague, is good but over-used. At least seven or eight crescendos cover various characters when they either grasp each other, look at each other or wistfully stare out windows while thinking of each other.
I didn't mind the historical and geographical inaccuracies. The need for financing seems to have motivated scenes of Pitt and Voltaire. (Was the inclusion of Franklin a failed attempt at American financing?) In fact, these scenes were not necessary since the movie used symbolism. The basic facts arguably fit the presentation. A case can be made that New France was abandoned by France, abused by the Catholic Church and strung up by England. Marie-Loup, get it? In the movie, she is illiterate but very articulate. Indeed, everyone spoke with modern international accents from mouths with white straight teeth. (So what! It's only a movie!)
Jean Beaudin made "J. A. Martin Photographe" which was both a beautiful and sensitive movie with Monique Mercure in the lead. She's in this one too but her presence only hearkens to the past. Despite its flaws, I enjoyed "Nouvelle France" but I'd probably enjoy any movie about the history of northern North America. If you have no interest in such history, this movie will be a convoluted Brazilian soap opera.
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