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Un Coeur En Hiver
(A Heart in Winter)

Un Coeur En Hiver


5 out of 5 starsSweet Sorrow

The Violin music in this movie is sweet and sorrowful. It is a true representation of what occurs in the hearts of the main characters. There is no nudity (as the cover might imply) and hardly any swearing in this movie which was quite refreshing! It is mostly an intellectual adventure and very romantic.

Is there anything as beautiful as love and anything as painful as deep sorrow and loneliness of the soul? What happens when two people connect and their hearts start to vibrate together like violins with broken strings? Can they heal enough to create beautiful music?

The concert violinist, Camille, is dating Maxim who is an older man she seems to love and feels a deep commitment to. The problem in this story is the inevitable love triangle. Maxim loves Camille and yet he realizes she is still young and restless. When Camille first meets Stephan she only sees him across a room. Later she brings in her violin for repairs and you can feel the sexual tension between them.

There is always a danger when you listen to someone and show interest in a personís deepest loves, their desires and their dreams. It is well known that women fall in love with men who are willing to listen to them. Stephan seems willing to listen to Camille and in the process he realizes he could hurt his best friend Maxim who he deeply loves. When the situation starts to get complex, he suddenly withdraws his attention and this makes Camille obsessive and needy.

While the movie tries to make us believe Stephan (Daniel Auteuil) is at fault, he seems to be more of an innocent party in the entire seduction. Camille is much more aggressive and yet she has her reasons for believing she should be loved. His physical actions only led me to believe he was genuinely interested in helping Camille (Emmanuelle Beart) reach her full potential as a concert violinist. The emotional undercurrents tell a different story.

The mysterious Stephan sees the violin needs work, but fails to see Camilleís sensitive heart needs fine tuning. When he listens to her play, he can feel her emotions flowing freely to his heart and we know he could be moved to passion. Yet, it is quite ironic how he is fully capable of quickly figuring out why a violin wonít play properly, but canít seem to figure out what makes a womanís heart play. He seems to have absolutely no awareness of how his attention affects Camille. While Stephan no longer plays the violin, there is definitely a soul connection between the two artists. There is a unique chemistry between them that is on fire from the time they first meet. The fire Camille feels quickly gets out of control.

Stephan is an interesting study. He seems fearful of life, yet confident at his job. He seems cold on the outside, but is simmering with desires on the inside. He sees opportunities and then takes the opposite path. Is he selfish or selfless? Does he see the world in a different way than Camille? She is spontaneous and gives her heart away easily. Stephan contemplates the future results of his future actions and continually decides not to act. He almost seems to be living in the past or trying not to move too quickly into the future.

We watch him observe life around him. Relationships start, they end, they enter periods of conflict and summers of love. He watches children playing and you can almost hear him wondering if he will one day start a family of his own. He sees Maxim as blessed and yet he is almost satisfied on some level with his solitary existence. He has a friend who owns a bookstore and she listens and encourages Stephan in the direction of a fulfilled life.

Is there a way for Camille and Stephan to play beautiful music together? As this story unravels, your imagination will create your most desired conclusion. Stephan knows how to repair violins, but can he fix a broken heart? How he can resist Camille, we will never know. Does Stephan make the right decision? It is up to you to decide.

Emmanuelle Beart has to be the most beautiful woman Iíve ever seen. I kept having to rewind the tape to read the subtitles because I was so mesmerized by her beauty and acting. This is now my favorite French film and the kindness of the friend who sent me a copy will not soon be forgotten!

Deliciously Intellectual and Intensely Beautiful. If you see one French Film, ďUn Coeur En HiverĒ is a true work of art in the purest sense.



Bon Voyage


Playful French Fantasy, September 6, 2006

Bon Voyage doesn't take itself seriously and occasionally trips gloriously over romantic moments that turn into comical charades to leave you laughing. The topic at hand is actually quite serious (War Time panic), that is why the frivolous actions of the main character seem so out of place and bizarre, although instigated mostly by her fear of discovery.

Here you will find Isabelle Adjani wearing sumptuous clothes and adorable hats and clinging to every man who will give her safety, not to mention crying pitifully into pillows for attention. Her adorable vulnerability is however overplayed to the point where she starts to lose the respect of the men she so desperately needs.

You have to love the scene where she suddenly decides to go shopping and jumps from the car and runs into a store. She is definitely a victim in the plot, but can't come to terms with the accidental murder and relies heavily on wealthy men of influence to get her out of any difficult situation that may mar her perfect existence. She mostly runs through the movie scared and insecure and waiting for the next opportunity to be saved.

In terms of artistic excellence, this movie flies beyond expectation and truly raises the bar in scenes of natural splendor, forests and gorgeous apartments. From the start you are invited into an intimate circle of connections that intertwine through the story with elements of romance to leave you emotionally satisfied, while still smiling. Worth watching for the cinematic beauty alone and the comedic elements are a true bonus and were very unexpectedly funny.

~The Rebecca Review




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