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Total Eclipse (1995)

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Young, wild poet Arthur Rimbaud and his mentor Paul Verlaine engage in a fierce, forbidden romance while feeling the effects of a hellish artistic lifestyle.

Director:

Agnieszka Holland

Writer:

Christopher Hampton (screenplay)
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Leonardo DiCaprio ... Arthur Rimbaud
David Thewlis ... Paul Verlaine
Romane Bohringer ... Mathilde Maute
Dominique Blanc ... Isabelle Rimbaud
Félicie Pasotti Félicie Pasotti ... Isabelle, as a child (as Felicie Pasotti Cabarbaye)
Nita Klein Nita Klein ... Rimbaud's Mother
James Thierrée James Thierrée ... Frederic (as James Thiérrée)
Emmanuelle Oppo Emmanuelle Oppo ... Vitalie
Denise Chalem Denise Chalem ... Mrs. Maute De Fleurville
Andrzej Seweryn ... Mr. Maute De Fleurville
Christopher Thompson Christopher Thompson ... Carjat
Bruce Van Barthold ... Aicard
Christopher Chaplin ... Charles Cros
Christopher Hampton ... The Judge
Mathias Jung Mathias Jung ... Andre
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Storyline

In 1871, Paul Verlaine (1844-1896), an established poet, invites boy genius Arthur Rimbaud (1854-1891) to live with Paul and his young pregnant wife, Mathiltde, in her father's home in Paris. Rimbaud's uncouth behavior disrupts the household as well as the insular society of French poets, but Verlaine finds the youth invigorating. Stewed in absinthe and resentment, Verlaine abuses Mathiltde; he and Rimbaud become lovers and abandon her. There are reconciliations and partings with Mathiltde and partings and reconciliations with Rimbaud, until an 1873 incident with a pistol sends one of them to prison. Codas dramatize the poets' final meeting and last illnesses. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Impassioned by genius. Inflamed by desire. Imprisoned by love. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sexuality and nudity, language, and some startling violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Fine Line Features

Country:

UK | France | Belgium

Language:

English

Release Date:

3 November 1995 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El fuego y la sombra See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$8,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$339,889
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

John Malkovich was initially attached to play Verlaine, but pulled out. See more »

Goofs

In the Café Andre where the adult Isabelle Rimbaud meets with Paul Verlaine, the typeface on the window is clearly in Helvetica, a typeface that was not created until 1954. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Paul Verlaine: Sometimes he speaks in a kind of tender dialect of the death which causes repentence, of the unhappy men who certainly exist, of painful tasks and heartrending departures. In the hovels where we got drunk he wept looking at those who surrounded us, the cattle of poverty. He lifted up drunks in the black streets. He had the pity a bad mother has for small children. He moved with the grace of a little girl at catechism. He pretended to know about everything, business, art, medicine. ...
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Na plovárne: Na plovárne s Agnieszkou Holland (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

Total Eclipse
Original music composed by Jan A.P. Kaczmarek
Soprano Vocals by Marta Boberska
Performed by Warsaw Symphony Orchestra
Fiddle [Fischer's Fidola] by Orchestra Of The Eighth Day (Orkiestra Ósmego Dnia)
Strings by The Wilanow String Quartet
Orchestra Contractor: Zbyszek Zbrowski
Conductor [Warsaw Symphony] Krzesimir Debski
Conductor: Tadeusz Karolak
Oboe: Bogdan Liszka
(P) © 1995 Sony Music Entertainment Inc.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Flawed but Interesting Story of Obsession
10 May 2005 | by lirielSee all my reviews

I realized going into this film that it was not going to be a straight bio-pic about Rimbaud's life so that loosened my expectations for the movie a bit, which is good considering had I expected a life story I would've been sorely disappointed. This film is more about Rimbaud's rocky relationship with fellow poet, Verlaine, whom he falls in love with and subsequently about Verlaine being stuck between a rock and a hard place with Rimbaud on one side and his beautiful but ultimately empty headed wife, Mathilde on the other.

The set/costume design was done well enough; not enough to win awards but enough to make the time and place believable. What stands out the most, though, is the acting and of course the wonderful violin heavy score. DiCaprio gives an inspired performance as the young, opinionated, Rimbaud as does Thewlis in his role as the older poet, Verlaine who takes him under his wing. You won't get a complete round view of either man or his life here, but what you will get is a story about love, madness, writing and the search for meaning.

If you like what you see of Rimbaud from this movie, I would whole heartedly recommend his work to you and any and all written biographies as they will shed even more light on a truly great poet's life.


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