Skip to main content

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

See also...

SECRET DEFENSE

Secret Defence is a powerful and original French crime thriller about a brother and sister caught up in layers of mystery which emerges from the supposedly accidental death of their father five years ... More »

AROUND A SMALL MOUNTAIN

“In Rivette-land, there is no life without art and vice versa.” - Screen International ... For Kate, a broken-down car and a broken-down life both get a jump start from a chance roadside ... More »

LA BELLE NOISEUSE

... ... No description will ever do justice to this magnificent film, a masterpiece in any­one's terms, a work which could only be a piece of cinema and nothing else, and which is one of the most ... More »

LOVE ON THE GROUND

LOVE ON THE GROUND (L'AMOUR PAR TERRE) is probably the most important film Rivette has made since L'AMOUR FOU. the first film in which his opposition to conventional narrative was clearly expressed ... More »

HURLEVENT

Based on Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights Jacques Rivette sets a drama laced with hatred, love, revenge and depravity. Although Catherine is in love with Roch, a foundling brought up by adoptive ... More »

PARIS BELONGS TO US

The writer, Charles Peguy, once reflected that Paris belongs to those who spend the summer there preparing for the winter season. In the heat of August, and in an empty Paris, Rivette documents the ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director