The award winning French film ‘Destinées Sentimentales’ (Sentimental Destinies)
directed by Olivier Assayas will be screened at 3 pm on Tuesday July 29 and at 6.30 pm on Wednesday on July 30 at the Alliance Francaise, Colombo-07.
Responsibility versus Happiness. Jean Barnery is a young Protestant cleric in Barbazac in 1900 when he divorces his severe wife after falling in love with Pauline, the independent-minded niece of an upper-crust parishioner. Jean's also an heir to a high-end porcelain factory in Limoges.
He gives his fortune to his wife to assuage his guilt over the divorce. He pursues Pauline; they marry and live idyllically in Switzerland. Then, duty calls: his family asks him to come to Limoges to run the business. He accepts, ignoring Pauline's wishes. His new responsibilities, as well as his fighting in the Great War, change him and his relationship with Pauline.
The film is also, perhaps a little surprisingly given Assayas' earlier work, a little dull and banal, rounding off its survey of some four decades of personal and societal change with an over-extended, trite conclusion that love is all important, and never quite letting us forget that the protagonist is for the most part a selfish, sanctimonious bore - even his embittered but absurdly faithful ex-wife, immaculately played by Huppert, is more sympathetic.
The film was nominated for Golden Palm at the Cannes film festival and won the Audience award at the Cinemania Film Festival in 2000. This lavish period epic is an unexpected and radical departure for director Olivier Assayas, who has acquired a reputation as very modern and unconventional film-maker, the epitome of the film auteur. With Les Destinées sentimentales, Assayas' most ambitious film to date, the director moves into very new territory, that of the classic literary adaptation.
The film is as much a tribute to France cinema's rich history of period drama as it is a work in its own right.