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Destinees sentimentales, Les
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by Greg Muskewitz

"Long-time chronicles."
3 stars

Olivier Assayas directs a near-three-hour period epic of love and tribulations between Charles Berling and Emmanuelle Béart.

Beautifully filmed on grand scale, the film chronicles, by chapters, beginning with Berling’s early days as a minister and his dissolving marriage with the impassive Isabelle Huppert. It follows though his retirement and ill health, and his new marriage to Béart as he recuperates in Switzerland. They return some years later when his old town requests that he take the position of overseeing the local glass production factory. The chapters alone tend to be quite lengthy, and Assayas’ ambition to cover such a long period of time weighs the film down. The costuming, production design and cinematography are skillfully displayed, but the interest of the film retreats into unmarked and periodic sub-chapters. Béart and Berling invest strong performances that do not go without merit — considering that any praise for the movie rests squarely on their shoulders, as they carry it. The supporting characters are also acknowledgeable (as always, Huppert), but any literary strength they may offer in the written form is hardly implied as their impressions are too transitory.


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originally posted: 12/13/02 12:12:59
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