Screened as part of NZIFF 2008
Jacques Rivette’s adaptation of Balzac’s tale of drawing room passion is superbly played by two strikingly odd actors, Jeanne Balibar and Guillaume Depardieu. She’s the aristocratic Antoinette, a seasoned coquette who mocks the awkward courtship of her socially clumsy suitor, a Napoleonic General and war hero. Pushing him too far, she finds herself becoming the pursuer. Though grounded in the theatricality of the salon and the mores of another time, the drama of unresolved mutual addiction is constantly startling and utterly persuasive in its psychological veracity. — BG.
“Poised and incandescent, this was one of the year’s great acting films, with Jeanne Balibar staking her place as one of the great screen performers of the moment… A film that’s entirely classic, yet entirely new and, more importantly, alive.“ — Jonathan Romney, Sight & Sound.