Swann in Love
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Proust, Swann in Love is a visually stunning film, bursting with life, love, and passion.
- Alternate English dubbed soundtrack
Top Customer Reviews
I think that a masterstroke in this film is the music. While it may seem inconsequential, it draws the film into a more complex direction than typical period music would have done. I believe that this allows the film to reinvent the quality of emotional space in the material.
Contemporary composers of modern chamber music like Hans Werner Henze (who'd collaborated with Schlondorff before) were brought into the making of the film. The music succeeds by injecting an atonal, dissonant, aching, atmosphere into the story. The piano and violin pieces work well against typical form and aid the narrative in a superbly contemplative manner. I was reminded somewhat of "L'Année dernière à Marienbad", simply because the musical "cues" were not spelled out in simple terms.
Avoiding kitsch is part of the problem when adapting an author who discusses subjects (in epic detail) which have been filmed a thousand times before - in my opinion, the music permits yet another interpretation of that subject. At first its quietly unusual, becoming a defined, twisting voice, accenting the growing dissonance Swann experiences with Odette and ultimately with society.
It is a beautiful film. My only concerns were the occasionally odd voice-over work, which was a little distracting. Ornella Muti is a knockout, but her beauty seems oddly contemporary - its as if the filmmakers were trying to make the statement that voluptuousness is eternal, while beauty standards shift periodically and culturally. Irons is excellent as Swann. I would highly recommend the film.
I rented this video because I had discovered Ornella Muti in the small role of Mercedes in the recent French miniseries of The Count of Monte Cristo and wanted to see more of her. The movie is well-worth seeing for her alone. She is amazingly beautiful, although in playing Odette de Crecy she combines powerful sensuality with a slight vulgarity that seems appropriate to the character she is playing, even though it detracts a little from her beauty.
One of the reviews jokingly suggested that seeing this movie would allow you to pretend that you had read the novel. I strongly disagree. I suspect that anybody who has not read the novel would find this movie pretty hard to follow and even harder to like. It's probably true that Proust is an essentially unfilmable writer. But, having conceded that, it is surprising how much subtlety and insightful reading is displayed in this movie. I am generally a pretty careful reader, but in watching this movie I had the experience several times of seeing things that I thought were changes from the novel and then, when I went back to the text I found that they were there all along and I had simply missed them.
This is mostly true in Muti's portrayal of Odette, which is not only much more sympathetic, but also much more complex than the view of her I remembered from reading the book. In fact, for me, the subtlety of Muti's performance has opened up a whole new possibility of interpretation of the role in the Proust novel of a character who is normally treated by readers with the same kind of contempt with which she is regarded by many of the novel's characters, including (most of the time) Swann himself.Read more ›
There's no point in whining about what Schloendorff got wrong in his adaptation, or what he left out. For instance I didn't much like how the famous last line of "Swann in Love" was rendered ("To think I've wasted the best years of my life..." etc.). But let's face it: you can't take a two-million-plus word novel and turn it into a movie without losing _something_. Just accept it.
My other gripe is that neither of the two lead characters say their own lines. Jeremy Irons (English) and Ornella Muti (Italian) are dubbed by French actors. Most Europeans would have seen a dubbed version anyway given how unpopular subtitles are in Europe. To a non-European, it's silly to have a movie dubbed even in the original language, but I suppose it's part and parcel with the European Union's subsidized financing of culture.
That aside, the adaptation is far from being all bad.
Alain Delon as Charlus is especially good. Despite being dubbed, Jeremy Irons looks spot on as Charles Swann. He's got the right balance of haughty manliness and effeminate aristocratic French charm. Ornella Muti is lovely as the cocotte Odette, except that I was disappointed for personal reasons. I saw Muti in a later film, where she was breathtakingly stunning as housewife to a French lawyer ("Un Couple Epatant"). As beautiful as she was at 28, she was ten times more beautiful twenty years later at 48.
As a period piece, the film shines. Swann's tuxedos, the Guermante's Salon, the stone paved streets, the horse drawn carriages, the lady's dresses.
Much of the dialog is lifted straight out of Proust, almost word for word although the context is sometimes changed.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Precisely what I wanted. Excellent brand new blu-ray condition.Published 11 months ago by vetusvates
An excellent attempt to get the sense of the tragic Swann-Odette relationship on film. First class performances, brilliant production. Read morePublished 16 months ago by blumenberg
I love it, except that I didn't know
it could only be played on mp3 format. That means I can't view it on my tv screen. Read more
The video quality of this blu-ray transfer is excellent. Dialogue is recorded in both English and French. French speaking actors dubbed with English speakers and vice versa.Published 23 months ago by Kenneth Johnson
I have recently finished reading the marvelous Remembrance of Things Past and anyway, anything with Jeremy Irons has to be excellent!Published on November 13, 2013 by Nancy Orozco
Based on the novel by Marcel Proust, this movie let's you fake your way through this small piece of french literature. Jeremy Irons heads a good cast and screenplay.Published on March 4, 2010 by Patricia Hemani
Marshall Fine doesn't know what he's talking about: Swann is not a French aristocrat. He may have money but he's a perpetual outsider in fin-de-siècle Paris because he's... Read morePublished on September 20, 2008 by Lev Raphael
It's unbelievable that Amazon would sanction Marshall Fine's comments. In fact, there are thousands of serious readers who have read Proust's work. Read morePublished on March 20, 2008 by DonD
I loved the look of this film. The interiors of the mansions are gorgeous. The antiques are impressive. The women's costumes are fabulous. Read morePublished on March 24, 2007 by adorian