Total Eclipse (1995) - Plot Summary Poster



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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.

  • 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.

  • Talented and well-established poet Paul Verlaine's life takes an unexpected turn when he meets the young and wildly unpredictable Arthur Rimbaud, an up-and-coming literary genius of the 19th century. After reading Rimbaud's extraordinary work, Verlaine invites him to stay with him and his wife Mathiltde in Paris. A partnership turns into a friendship, which soon becomes a love affair. With Verlaine's inability to improve upon his poetry, his abusive behavior towards his wife and his alcoholism, combined with Rimbaud's recklessness, manipulative behavior and his fear of being the same as everyone else, the poets embark together on a journey of love, lust, pain, inspiration and sorrow.


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