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Bicycling with Molière (2013)

Alceste à bicyclette (original title)
Not Rated | | Comedy, Drama | 16 January 2013 (France)
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Two actors. One play. Can the differences between the two egocentric men be put aside for the sake of friendship and theatre?

Director:

Philippe Le Guay

Writers:

Fabrice Luchini (from an original idea by), Philippe Le Guay (from an original idea by) | 3 more credits »
1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Fabrice Luchini ... Serge Tanneur
Lambert Wilson ... Gauthier Valence
Maya Sansa ... Francesca
Camille Japy Camille Japy ... Christine
Ged Marlon Ged Marlon ... Christophe Meynard - l'agent immobilier
Stéphan Wojtowicz Stéphan Wojtowicz ... Le chauffeur de taxi
Annie Mercier Annie Mercier ... Tamara - l'agent artistique
Christine Murillo Christine Murillo ... Madame Françon
Josiane Stoléru Josiane Stoléru ... Raphaëlle La Puisaye
Laurie Bordesoules Laurie Bordesoules ... Zoé
Édith Le Merdy Édith Le Merdy ... Madame Bichet - l'hôtelière
Patrick Bonnel Patrick Bonnel ... Roussel
Philippe du Janerand ... Le directeur du théâtre
Jean-Charles Delaume Jean-Charles Delaume ... Philinte sur scène
Jean-Marc Rousseau Jean-Marc Rousseau ... Le plombier
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Storyline

A once great actor, Serge Tanneur (Fabrice Luchini), has retired from the limelight. Too much pressure meant that one day, he simply decided he would act no more. For the past three years, he has lived in solitude on the Île de Ré, spending his time cycling through the windswept landscape. Fellow actor Gauthier Valence (Lambert Wilson), whose career is flying high, is planning a production of Molière's play The Misanthrope and wants to offer Serge the role of Filinte. Gauthier is convinced he will accept, since Serge himself has become a misanthrope, withdrawn from society and raging against the world. It would be wonderful to see him return in that part. But Serge plays hard to get, first of all as he want to play the title role. Instead of committing, he suggests they rehearse together for the week. Things look to be going well, especially when a mysterious Italian divorcee (Maya Sansa) brings a romantic spark into his life. With the play's producer, Gauthier's agent and his lover ... Written by lletaif

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

France

Language:

French | Italian

Release Date:

16 January 2013 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Bicycling with Molière See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,896, 27 April 2014, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$59,624, 3 August 2014
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

French visa # 131952 delivered on 12-12-2012. See more »

Soundtracks

La Bicyclette
Music by Francis Lai
Lyrics by Pierre Barouh
Performed by Yves Montand
(1968)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A great French movie--don't miss it.
26 September 2014 | by Red-125See all my reviews

The French film "Alceste à bicyclette" was shown in the U.S. with the title "Bicycling with Molière" (2013). It was directed by Philippe Le Guay, and co-written ("from an original idea") by Le Guay and one of the stars, Fabrice Luchini.

I'm sure the title was changed in translation because the producers reasoned--correctly, in my case--that U.S. viewers wouldn't recognize that Alceste is a character in "The Misanthrope," a play by Moliere. (Not that Moliere is a household word in the U.S. either, but it's more recognizable than Alceste.)

The basic plot of the movie is set out within the first few minutes. Fabrice Luchini plays Serge Tanneur, a retired actor who now lives alone in a crumbling house near the ocean.

Lambert Wilson is Gauthier Valence, also considered an excellent actor, but now being defined by his role as a neurosurgeon in a French television series. He's truly famous--recognized by everyone, and pictured on the cover of magazines.

Gauthier has enough money to produce Moliere's "The Misanthrope," on the Paris stage. He wants to play the misanthrope, and he knows that the play will succeed if he can get Serge to play opposite him.

Serge protests that he really is retired, doesn't want to do it, but . . . maybe. He convinces Gauthier to stay in the local hotel for a few days while they read the play together. Then he'll decide. Everything else follows from those opening scenes.

I've seen "The Misanthrope" on stage, and it is truly a great play. Of course, those of us that don't speak French are really at a disadvantage. That's because the play is written in rhymed couplets, so the prose translations are just a pale reflection of what Moliere created.

Incidentally, Moliere didn't write in iambic pentameter the way Shakespeare did. He wrote in Alexandrines, which have 12 syllables rather than 10. This is important in the film, because at one point Serge tells Gauthier that he has to pronounce a word with two syllables rather than one, in order to maintain Moliere's "music." Gauthier replies that as long as the line is communicated, the number of syllables doesn't make any difference. Just one of many artistic disagreements between the two men. Both Luchini and Valence are such great actors that they can make us understand how two people--even friends who are truly dedicated to the theater--can still rub each other raw.

The situation is tense enough, and gets more tense when Serge says that he wants to play Alceste. They finally agree to alternate roles.

Things get more complicated with the appearance of Francesca, played by Maya Sansa. She's an Italian woman, living in France after her divorce. There appears to be a certain chemistry between Francesca and Serge, although it's subtle.

At one point, the three characters go for a bicycle ride along the coastline. It's a beautiful scene, clearly meant as an homage to Truffaut's "Jules and Jim."

I thought this was a great movie in many ways. The acting was superb. There's an obvious parallel between Serge as a misanthropic actor who would be typecast as the misanthrope in Moliere's play. The scenes when the two talented actors are rehearsing Moliere are brilliant.

We saw this film on the large screen, where it probably works better than it will on DVD. However, if you have to see it on the small screen, that's OK. For inexplicable--to me-- reasons, the film carries only a 6.7 rating on IMDb. Don't believe it. It's much, much better than that.


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