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BEAUMARCHAIS

SYNOPSIS:
Pierre-Augustin Carol de Beaumarchais the playwright is also an inventor, magistrate, and defender of human rights. A former friend of Voltaire’s, he acquires a new secretary, Gudin, a young man who admires his writing. Beaumarchais in his role as magistrate, rules for a poor man against the powerful Prince de Conti, for which he is provoked into a duel and then arrested. This leads to a trial where he is accused of using a false aristocratic name, to denounce the corruption of parliament and magistrates. The people support him enthusiastically, but he is condemned, losing all rights and privileges, inlcuding his right to the name Beaumarchais. At Versailles, King Louis XV pardons him in exchange for a spying mission.

"Beaumarchais is an exquisitely intelligent film with sumptuous settings, ornate costumes and a witty script adorned with expressive and poetic sentiments. Sure to appeal to the thinker and lover of French cinema, where language and its use is so suited to imagery and using the words to their full capacity: ‘Are you tired? My heart is . . .’. The performances are superb: these actors truly know the art of expression and understatement. How Beaumarchais uses words and wit to become not only the people’s champion, but also play a manipulating game of his own, is nothing short of fascinating. Only small men fear the power of words, says Beaumarchais, a phrase to which the King takes exception. No stage is big enough for Beaumarchais. He wins his struggles but shows his insecurities along the way. There is one scene in particular which will appeal to film critics everywhere, where Beaumarchais, as author, sits before the censors. The icing on the cake is Jean-Claude Petit’s stunning musical score with its beautiful melodic themes and questioning phrases, played by the London Studio Orchestra."
Louise Keller

"Director Edouard Molinaro has deftly created a lush costume drama about a lesser-known poet whose writings were in many ways a parallel to events brewing in pre-Revolutionary France. The results are a mixed bag; a somewhat chaotic comedy/drama which looks stunning but ultimately offers us little. Not that this is a film to dismiss, and Luchini's performance is one whose richness and complexity makes the film worth seeing. But it's a film that deals with events and characters so parochial to France that one wonders how significant it is likely to be to a broad audience. The film is very decorative: stylish costumes, beautiful women, a certain cinematic grandeur, yet it's a curiously aloof piece, one that lacks structure and doesn't quite reach the heart of this character. Molinaro, best known for the first two La Cage Aux Folles films, directs this movie with a certain grace at times, but it still has an occasionally sluggish feel. Yet for all one's criticisms, it has some witty and eloquent passages that may make up for its shortcomings."
Paul Fischer

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Fabrice Lucini-Beaumarchais


Beaumarchais the womaniser


Beaumarchais with the King

BEAUMARCHAIS (PG)
(France)

CAST: Fabrice Lucini, Sandrine Kiberlain, Manuel Blanc, Jacques Wber, Michel Serrault, Jean Yanne, Jean-François Balmer, Jean-Claude Brialy, Claire Nebout, Michel Piccoli, Murray Head, Martin Lamotte, Florence Thomassin, Patrick Bouchitey, Isabelle Carré, José Garcia, Alain Chabat, Michel Aumont, Judith Godrèche

DIRECTOR: Edouard Molinaro

PRODUCER: Charles Gassot

SCRIPT: Edouard Molinaro, Jean-Claude Brisville (freely inspired by an unpublished play by Sacha Guitry)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Michael Epp

EDITOR: Veronique Parnet

MUSIC: Jean-Claude Petit

ART DIRECTORS: Jean-Marc Kerdelhue; Jamie Leonard (England unit)

RUNNING TIME: 108 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: New Vision

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: June 26, 1997







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