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Un Coeur en Hiver ( A Heart in Winter )
Un Coeur en Hiver
A Heart in Winter
Actors: Daniel Auteuil, Emmanuelle Béart, André Dussollier, Élisabeth Bourgine, Brigitte Catillon
Director: Claude Sautet
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Music Video & Concerts
UR     2006     1hr 45min

Daniel Auteuil (Manon of the Spring) stars as Stephane, the curiously diffident co-owner of an exclusive violin brokerage and repair shop. A brilliant technician, Stephane can make any instrument live up to its promise, ye...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Daniel Auteuil, Emmanuelle Béart, André Dussollier, Élisabeth Bourgine, Brigitte Catillon
Director: Claude Sautet
Creators: Yves Angelo, Claude Sautet, Jean-Louis Livi, Philippe Carcassonne, Jacques Fieschi, Jérôme Tonnerre, Yves Ulmann
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Music Video & Concerts
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Love & Romance, Music Video & Concerts
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 11/07/2006
Original Release Date: 06/04/1993
Theatrical Release Date: 06/04/1993
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 1hr 45min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 16
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: French
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

Sad, Beautiful Tale of Unrequited Love
David Montgomery | | 05/25/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)

"The title translates as "a heart in winter." A cold heart, bereft of love. A heart incapable of any emotion at all. That describes Stephane (Daniel Auteuil), a solitary violin maker and repairman. A man with the soul of an artist, but none of the talent.Stephane is partnered with Maxime (Andre Dussollier) in a thriving business. Maxime is everything that Stephane is not: gregarious, confident, extroverted. Together they form a successful team. Maxime brings in the clients and Stephane does the work. They both are quite happy.One day Maxime introduces Stephane to his new love, Camille (Emmanuel Beart), a beautiful violinist. He is cold to her at first, but the music she makes gradually stirs something in him. She in turns responds to him. She can sense that he has the heart of a musician, but something is wrong. Something is keeping him from opening his heart to anyone else. That something is music. Stephane is surrounded constantly by beautiful music, but none of it emanates from him.We come to realize why Stephane, once a promising musician, gave up music. The sounds his fingers made could never equal the music he heard in his soul so he quit. Rather than risk the pain of further disappointment in life, he chose instead to feel nothing at all. If that meant forgoing love, it was a price that he had to pay.Camille eventually confesses to Maxime that she is in love with his partner. Maxime is hurt, but what can he do? She goes to Stephane. We can see that he probably loves her as well, but still he refuses her. He will not allow her into his heart. She is hurt by this, but she has her music and Maxime and, perhaps, that is enough. She is too proud to play the woman scorned.Emmanuelle Beart gives a truly wonderful performance as Camille. She is stunning to look at, of course, but as a gifted actress, she will not settle for just that. Her work is meticulously crafted, imbibing her role with dignity and grace. She studied for a year to learn to be a convincing violinist and she succeeds magnificently.Daniel Auteuil is also excellent, playing the difficult part of a man who keeps his thoughts and emotions very much to himself. It is a subtle performance, filled with poignant suggestions and nuances. His carefully guarded expressions and manner prove that still waters do run deep.As is typical of most of the finer French films, "Un Coeur en Hiver" is a very mature, adult film. Not in the sexual sense--there is nothing even remotely objectionable in it--but rather in terms of its thoughtfulness and sophistication. The relationships in this film, as in real life, demonstrate that love is never easy. There isn't always a happy ending, and just because a man and a woman should get together, that does not mean they will."
He can repair a violin, but can he mend a broken heart?
G. Merritt | Boulder, CO | 10/06/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Directed by Claude Sautet (Oscar-winning Cesar & Rosalie), A Heart in Winter (Un caeur en hiver) is a 1992 French film starring Daniel Auteuil and his 10-year partner, Emmanuelle Béart. Set in Paris, the award-winning film tells the story of a love triangle involving Maxime (André Dussollier), Stéphane (Auteuil) and Camille (Béart). Camille is a beautiful and gifted violinist who embarks on a casual relationship with Maxime, the owner of a violin studio. Stéphane is Maxime's employee, friend and a master craftsman. He is passionate about violins. In sharp contrast to Maxime, who is outgoing and friendly, Stéphane is emotionally remote and brooding. When Camille meets him to have her violin repaired, she falls in love with him and then tells Maxime. From this point in the film, one wonders whether Stéphane will overcome his fear of heartache and sense of loyalty to his employer to take an emotional risk on Camille, or whether, like Anthony Hopkins' emotionally distant character in The Remains of the Day, Camille will become for him a missed opportunity and the source of lifelong regret. Stéphane may be a master craftsman when it comes to repairing violins, but does he know how to repair his own heart, a heart "in winter," seemingly incapable of loving? If not, how could Camille's love for Stéphane ever endure? One of the things I enjoy most about French films such as this one is that, unlike Americans, the French seem so much more grownup in their attitudes toward sex and relationships. The relationship between Camille and Stéphane is not intended to be a typical Hollywood romance. It is more complex, and it may not live up to some viewers' expectations. This film avoids cliches, and the result is a film that feels real.

Daniel Auteuil and Emmanuelle Béart carry the film with their outstanding performances. A Heart in Winter (Un caeur en hiver) won the César Award for Best Director and Best Supporting Actor; the Venice Film Festival FIPRESCI Prize; the Venice Film Festival, Silver Lion Award; the London Critics Circle Film Awards, Foreign Language Film of the Year; the European Film Awards, Best Actor Award; and the French Syndicate of Cinema Critics, Best Film Award.

G. Merritt
Devotion, dreams and their agonising absence
Mr. Cairene | Cairo, Egypt | 10/29/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"It's a fine art this violin tuning. Watching the characters in Claude Sautet's Un Coeur En Hiver (A Heart in Winter) as they debate the clarity, density and heaviness of that instrument's voice, you may think that it's all in their head. The beautiful instrument's incompetence nothing but a manifestation of their own insecurities. But then the process of watching this lovely film is, in itself, a fine art. In its delicate progress, the viewer is drawn in till he/she hears entire exchanges in a shared glance. Pain, humor, relief and agony in a moment of silence. Another person wondering in midway through the film may ask what in the world is so absorbing. There are scenes of great beauty in the film, there is a superb use of music, "those irrelevant dreams". But as in Sautet's somewhat lesser Nelly and Monsieur Arnaud, what is left unsaid, unresolved and unrequited is far more important then what is. There are two sets of masters and their apprentices in the film. Maxime (Andre Dussollier) and his business partner Stephane (Daniel Auteuil). Together, they own a shop where the reticent Stephane builds and fixes violins with great precision, and Maxime handles the business and social side of things. Then there is Camille (Emanuelle Beart) and her agent Regine (Brigitte Cattilon). Both Camille and Stephane appear frigid at first, they channel all their energy into their work, while the others live their lives for them. It is a convenient way of life for Stephane, the Heart in Winter of the title. But Camille is still open, still warm enough to seek love. So when Maxime introduces Camille as his lover, there is visible hurt on Stephane's face. At first it seems that he is jealous of her, or him, but then I realised that he was jealous of their readiness to, and faith in love. A tentative and unacknowledged romance develops between Stephane and Camille. They meet at the studio, and he takes her out for a drink. For the first time in the film, she smiles. They seem to be comfortable together. And since this is a French film, love is not defined as some magical formula, but a relationship in which each partner could to dilute their obsessions, to be at ease with themselves. But Stephane freezes, he breaks off all voluntary contact with Camille. It is tempting to think that this abrupt change of heart on his part was because of fear, a reluctance to give up his carefully constructed world. Perhaps his dedication to his craft was so great, that he feared his love of Camille would lessen the quality of his work. Why would he ever attempt to make the perfect violin when perfection is right beside him in Emmanuelle Beart. And my, is she perfect. It is even more tempting to believe that he has abandoned her for the sake of his friend in a Casablanca sort of sacrifice. What makes the A Heart in Winter so special is that Sautet doesn't choose either of those easy answers, although they are viable. Instead we are left with the tragic notion that there are people like Stephane who are incapable of emotion, "Something is broken inside." In a moving scene, Auteuil drives away from Beart, crying. Some will think his tears are for a love he can never acknowledge. Perceptive viewers will understand he is crying because he knows he can never feel love. All he can feel is the lack."
Slow and mannered, but exquisite.
D. Mok | Los Angeles, CA | 04/13/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The extremely languid unveiling of the romantic triangle and the endless discussions of art and philosophy may not be for all tastes, but Un Coeur en Hiver would be a success just on the terms of performance and aesthetics.Emmanuelle Beart once again finds the repressed warmth in a seemingly frigid character, always letting a sense of vulnerability (but also defiance) bleed from an arrogant surface. Daniel Auteuil cleverly shrinks into the background with a very restrained performance, and Andre Dussolier is very good as his long-suffering but loyal partner.The soapy premise is offset by certain key sequences of scathing emotional intensity -- for example, when Beart dons the makeup and starts attacking Auteuil across the table, it's devastating watching her facade crumble in the face of emotional hurt. And then, the best sequences in the film: The scenes of musical performance, where the concentrated ferocity on Beart's face (who allegedly trained 16 months on the violin to prepare for the role), the swirling music, the chemistry of the musicians and the ravished look on Auteuil's face as he listens are about as close as any film has come to capturing the essence of the bond among musicians, where spirits and feelings collide through art."