Thursday, April 17, 2008

Un Coeur en Hiver (A Heart in Winter)

Very interesting and intense film by Claude Sautet about a man that likes to live his life the way he does it, even when others consider him lonely, dry, cold, secretive and distant, he sees himself as direct (well, brutally direct) and honest to others and to himself. But unexpectedly his life routine will be disturbed and seems like he is not willing to give up his serene way of life.

The outline of the story may look like a love triangle between a master violin repair artist Stephane (Daniel Auteuil), a virtuoso violin player Camille (Emmanuelle Béart) and a violin shop owner Maxime (André Dussollier), but there is so much more than a simple love story in this movie, here you find a philosophical proposition of what “love is about” that probably is one that you have never think of and much less when love –and attraction- is not acted upon as we usually have seen in the screen, but that somehow recalls real life, a real life we do not like that much.

As you can imagine music is a big part of this movie and you’ll be able to enjoy masterful violin performances with Emanuelle really looking like a true violin virtuoso player (she had to really learn how to play the violin for this role). But Auteuil’s performance is more than excellent is incredibly outstanding with his poker face and his eyes telling more than his mouth could ever tell. His performance is truly amazing and big kudos to a younger Daniel Auteuil.

As a movie is elegant, with great cinematography, fantastic framing and very good editing that keeps tension high even when as most good French movies the pace is quite slow and silences here feel even longer thanks to the theme. But this movie could have been a very cold and not pleasant to watch movie and what absolutely changes the mood is the fantastic music and beautiful Paris. Chapeau to the director who also co wrote the screenplay and did the scenario with Jacques Fieschi.

This 1992 movie won 11 awards and had 7 nominations, including the Silver Lion and FIPRESCI Prize at the 1992 Venice Film Festival, the Foreign Language Film of the Year ALFS Award at the 1994 London Critics Circle Film Awards, the David for Best Foreign Film at the 1993 David di Donatello Awards, and was nominated for Best Film not in the English Language at the 1993 BAFTA Awards. Daniel Auteuil won the David for Best Foreign Actor, the Best Actor at the 1993 European Film Awards and has other nominations. Emmanuelle Béart won the David for Best Foreign Actress. Just in the César Awards the film won two and had 7 nominations.

Absolutely not for all audiences you really have to enjoy French movies with a clear beginning and a vague end that allows room for you to end it as you wish; and I say this even when to me the end was so clear when Emmanuelle slowly turns around to with those big beautiful eyes catch a glimpse of Auteuil. I strongly recommend this film to those that enjoy great performances, intense complex stories and is a must be seen for Daniel Auteuil fans –like me- and those that love Emmanuelle Béart performances –like me-.

I thank a dearest friend for the opportunity to see this outstanding film.


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