The Duchess of Langeais (Ne Touchez Pas La Hache)(Don't Touch the Axe) (2007)
Critic Consensus: At times plodding and dialogue heavy, The Duchess of Langeais is nevertheless an intriguing and rewarding dissection of class and gender relations.
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as Antoinette de Langeais
as Armand de Montriveau
as Vidame de Pamiers
as Princess de Blamont-Chauvry
as Clara de Serizy
as Marquis de Ronquerolles
as De Trailles
as De Marsay
as Mother Superior
as Le duc de Grandieu
as Diane de Maufrigneuse
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Critic Reviews for The Duchess of Langeais (Ne Touchez Pas La Hache)(Don't Touch the Axe)
It's charged with nuance yet ultimately an exercise in compressed literary adaptation.
Maybe even Rivette himself is a little too delicate for this ferocious, intensely focused pair. But he's fascinated by them, and ultimately, he loves them.
The everyday moviegoer will find it as impenetrable as its heroine. But if you vibrate to nuances of style, if you enjoy tension gathering strength beneath terrible restraint, if you admire great acting, then you will.
The director guides the viewer through a sly consideration of near-sociopathic not-quite-lovers, one of whom finds refuge in religion, the other in romantic obsession.
Jacques Rivette's Duchess of Langeais seems to me a nearly impeccable work of art -- beautiful, true, profound.
Audience Reviews for The Duchess of Langeais (Ne Touchez Pas La Hache)(Don't Touch the Axe)
Unfortunately this is the end for Guillaume Depardieu and it isn't as polished as other period pieces that I am more taken with.
[font=Century Gothic]In "The Duchess of Langeais," it is 1823 and Marquis de Montriveau(Guillaume Depardieu) finally locates Antoinette(Jeanne Balibar), the former Duchess of Langeais, in a convent in Cadiz. Five years previously, they meet at a salon given by Clara de Serizy(Anne Cantineau). At the time, he is a military hero who had been held captive in Africa for two years. And it may be for that reason that she is intrigued by him, even though he is something of a dullard. After their first evening together, she hands him an open invitation to return anytime. At which point, he is convinced that she will become his mistress.(There is a Duke of Langeais but he is never seen.)[/font] [font=Century Gothic][/font] [font=Century Gothic]"The Duchess of Langeais," a relatively brief film from Jacques Rivette, is a pointed look at the aristocracy, in its ascendancy following the fall of Napoleon. With little to do during the day, all they are left with to fill their time are social engagements and balls. And it may be for this very reason that Langeais leads along Montriveau. Remember, a duchess trumps a marquis and rank is everything. For the marquis, an imperialist officer, conquest is everything.[/font] [font=Century Gothic][/font] [font=Century Gothic]But the human element is missing. And I think that is definitely due to the performances which are key in any predominantly two person drama.(Remember "Gabrielle" and "Miss Julie"(1999) for instance.) Depardieu is satisfactory enough but Balibar is definitely lacking. Old pros like Michel Piccoli and Bulle Ogier show the youngsters how it is done.[/font]
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