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DON'T TOUCH THE AXE

France / Italy, 2007 (MIFF 2008, International Panorama)

Director: Jacques Rivette

DON'T TOUCH THE AXE

"A masterpiece... ‘cruel ironies' doesn't even begin to describe it." - Time Out London

The latest in Jacques Rivette's series of adaptations of Honore de Balzac's work is a dramatisation of La Duchesse de Langeais. Set in the salons of 1820s Paris, it chronicles the doomed courtship between a Napoleonic war hero (Guillaume Depardieu) and the Parisian socialite (Jeanne Balibar) who becomes the focus of his seductions. At first she toys with him with all the precision of a chess grand master, but when he launches his counter attack their innocent flirtation quickly turns into a vengeful test of each other's love.

A sly, subtly executed study of the complexity of human desire, Rivette's ultimate thesis is a compelling version of ‘all's fair in love and war'.


D Jacques Rivette P Roberto Cicutto, Martine Marignac, Luigi Musini, Ermanno Olmi, Maurice Tinchant S Jacques Rivette, Pascal Bonitzer, Christine Laurent WS Les Films du Losange L French w/English subtitles TD 35mm/2007/137mins

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