Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Emmanuelle Béart, Charles Berling, Isabelle Huppert, Olivier Perrier, Dominique Reymond
Director: Olivier Assayas
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Studio: Genius Products Inc Release Date: 08/12/2003 Run time: 174 minutes Rating: Nr
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Love endures--this film will not.
anomie | 01/23/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Every story has a beginning, a middle, and an end. In the case of the film "Les Destinees," the beginning is in 1900, and the end arrives three decades later. In the middle is the meat of this film, and this includes:
A scandalous divorce
An idyllic soujourn in Switzerland
The First World War
The fortunes of a porcelain producing family
The inside of a swinging Parisian nightclub circa 1930
A religious conversion
An adulterous affair
The stock market crash of the 1920s
The production of several lines of porcelain
And I have probably missed a few things...
Now while this DVD may last three hours, there is enough material in this film to make a mini-series. This is a sumptuous epic--gorgeous sets, marvellous scenery, wonderful costumes--but somehow or another all these lovely trappings just left me cold. It was like consuming a beautiful but hollow cake--perfect icing, but nothing underneath. The story was just too involved to condense adequately and meaningfully into three hours. There were many scenes that added nothing at all to the main thread of the story--the enduring nature of love. Many of the scenes could have been very comfortably cut from the film--at absolutely no loss to the plot. What was the trip to America all about? It added nothing--except, I suppose, it helped qualify "Les Destinees" as an epic, and the bar scene with all the wild young ones, and the religious conversion. Chop, chop chop--all worthless.
Charles Berling was excellent as the minister who dumps the church, but Emmanuelle Beart as his wife, Pauline was too wooden and pouty for my tastes. She trounced around the sets like a little girl. She looks good, but the acting....Now I am going to add here that I usually LOVE French films, and consume a regular diet of foreign films. This was a disappointment. If I rate "Les Destinees" against other French films, I would probably give it two stars, but if I match it against most of the tripe out there, it starts to look better, so for this reason, I am giving it three stars. If you are a French film fan, you may very well be disappointed in this--displacedhuman"
A Thought Provoking Epic Tale
Karim Bey | Squaw Valley, CA United States | 12/03/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The production of porcelain and cognac are the axis around which this film revolves. The film documents and dramatizes the sacrifice involved in maintaining quality during hard political and personal times. Covering several decades, the film intelligently probes philosophical themes of love, duty, family, and death. The acting is superb. Be aware that the movie is some 3 hours, so allot the time. One of my favorite scenes is the waltz scene; the grace of this dance is captured by the turn of the head of Pauline (Beart)."
Love is everything
R. Gutow | Columbus, OH United States | 02/23/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I read the reviews of quite a few people for this film and would like to comment on certain things omitted from their analysis. For starters, this is a movie about LIFE, so where to start with life? Pick a time zone for the beginning and end of the film. The comment of one intelligent reviewer was that the movie had no "meat" in the beginning or end and that the "meat" was in the middle, but he just doesn't understand that this is merely a movie about life. Why cut out the trip to America? The movie tries to realistically portray business problems and the problems with competing internationally, and it shows how management tried to deal with their problems, and portrayed management as being inept, which happens in life! This reviewer says there is no substance in this movie, but I submit that the reviewer did not pay attention while watching the movie. This is a wonderful movie about life and the problems of life and relationships, and of love that dies, and a man that is brave enough at the end of the film to admit his shortcomings in life and to finally realize that love is everything, and that without love there is nothing, and this comment concludes the movie, while flashing back to the ballroom dancing, in the beginning, in the year 1900, when this couple was young and in love, which gives the movie closure; characters that you don't like are supposed to not be liked!! I liked this movie very much and watch lots of international movies and like French films, and this is one of the best films I've seen in quite some time and gets close to a 10 out of 10 rating in my book. The movie appears to start and end abruptly, but keep in mind that this is only a movie about life, and that the starting point and ending point are merely moments in time."
A Visually Magnificent Tale of the Endurance of Love
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 11/14/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"LES DESTINEES is another one of those period pieces that reminds us of how magic cinema can be. Set at the turn of the century the plot revolves around a triangle of two women and a man who rediscover themselves at the cost of the changes the world endured in the time of the great wars. The importance of family is approached in a pungent way, fighting as it does here against the discovery of honest love: how far will a man of means risk his profession and his marriage for the love of an outsider? Though the story has oft been written and told, much of the success of this film lies in the capable acting hands of Isabelle Huppert, Emannuelle Beart, and Charles Berling. Erring on being a bit too long, the technical aspects of this film seamlessly hold your attention - a vital stage for some fine storytelling and acting."