4 July 2000 | a.morell
Brave try at a follow-up to Visconti`s epics
For the first time Assayas has left the contemporary Paris settings of his films and tried his hands on a period picture, set in a small village in the South, a china factory in Limoges, the Swiss Alps and on the battlefields of WW1. The film is a brave attempt to revive Luchino Visconti`s lavish epics but unfortunately lacks the Italian`s breath. The story could have easily been told in 90 minutes (instead of 180!), and even if some scenes and locations look gorgeous (especially the ballroom-scene!) and Assayas` (and cameraman Eric Gautier`s) usual trademark, the nervous camerawork, goes down well with a period picture, all that isn`t enough to hold our attention for such a long time. Nothing in this films can really surprise us, not even the beauty of Emmanuelle Beart or the acting quality of Isabelle Huppert, and as the film potters along one hopes Assayas will rapidly go contemporary again. Not really bad but definitely ways apart from the quality of his earlier films.