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Un Coeur en Hiver (A Heart in Winter) [Blu-ray]
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Daniel Auteuil (Caché), Emmanuelle Beard (Mission: Impossible) and André Fusilier (Amelie) star in this sublimely sensual, provocative and critically-acclaimed film from director Claude Sautee (Nelly and Monsieur Arnaud). Camille (Beard), a concert violinist, becomes intrigued by her lover’s business partner Stephane (Auteuil), an aloof restorer of musical instruments. She interprets his distance as a kind of flirtation, but Stephane is more of a voyeur, preferring to watch than engage in romance. A bizarre love triangle forms in which each member slowly unveils their imperfections and insecurities. Un Coeur end Hiver (A Heart in Winter) is a sexy and enthralling film that unearths the origins of desire. Special Features: Audio commentary by film historian Kat Hellinger Trailers
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1. Nice violin music by Ravel
2. Great acting, especially by Daniel Auteuil, as usual
3. Nice cinematography
1. Film was predicable early on for me, maybe because I have a similar personality to Stéphane (Auteuil)
2. Story & characters a little disjointed
3. Could have be better directed & edited in parts
I have a passion for French films and have seen quite a few in my time, but rarely has a movie touched my heart like this film has. Camille is a talented violinist who falls for her lover's business partner, Stéphane. All this seemed scandalously romantic until Stéphane's true colors were revealed: he is incapable of emotional intimacy.
I have read some reviews that have said the plot is lacking, but the plot was what drew me in right away. Perhaps it is because of the way the actors pulled off their roles so well. What I enjoyed most about "Un Coeur En Hiver" were the intelligent yet casual dialogues. The things talked about were ordinary, everyday things yet were still interesting.
"Un Coeur En Hiver" is not a movie for everyone. But if one enjoys intelligent, philosophical and profound dramas, definitely check out this French film. You may be incredibly surprised and moved.
Knowing that the instrument is an alter-ego to the musician, Stephane elicits the soloist to fall in love with him. However when she admits to him that she is in love with him, he cannot take the heightened emotionally charged atmosphere and withdraws further into his shell. Even though he was drawn into caring about Camille, Stephane denies it emphatically, which hurts Camille tremendously. About now the violin is forgotten, and the love triangle storyline marches on through a public humiliation, a broken partnership, with Camille returning to Maxime. As they drive off, she looks back at Stephane wistfully, who then returns to his usual business (or so it seems).
One is left with the feeling of loss and uncertainty for both Stephane and Camille, yet realizing that this ending is more realistic in the human drama, than a "happily ever after" type of ending typical in American films. I do like the complexity, behaviorial and psychological drama of this film, and its reflection on how life is, the bursts and episodes of heightened drama amongst the background of banal existence.
With: Daniel Auteuil, Emmanuelle Beart, Andre Dussollier
"Coeur" is a romantic story, without a trace of sentimentality. That may be because of the restrain shown by the director, famous "New Wave" auteur Claude Sautet, but not exactly one of the likes of Jean-Paul Godard, Francois Truffaut, or Eric Rohmer. This is a story told linearly, with a clear, concise narrative, with no fat in it, a lean, straightforward romantic story; and yet is different from most Hollywood products, with the obligatory happy ending. Instead, "Coeur" delves into the exploration of the male psyche (the female here is familiar ground) and purports to account for an alleged failure to love, or relate in the human adventure for love (of the opposite sex) that most male humans embark on. The failure turns up an unexpected positive note, but not after much pain has been inflicted both on male and female protagonists.
Let us explain: Stephan is a young genius with musical instruments--violins in this case--which he is able to repair to their pristine sound quality, even improve them in the processes. He works for a slightly older partner--Maxim (Dussollier)--who is good at public relations, making sure his clients are well satisfied with both the service and social amenities he is careful to provide. He and Stephan are friends, though the word is not spoken, and good partners. They work in tandem, and in harmony, until a beautiful young violinist, Camille (Beart), appears in the horizon. Maxim confesses to Stephan that he has been seeing her for months, and, though he is serious bout her, their relationship is lukewarm and passionless. Stephan is called upon to help repair her violin, and Camille develops a sudden and intense passion him. Stephan shows retraint, despite feelings for her that he seems to try to supress. They have a few electric moments together, running for shelter in a rainstorm, but Camille is frustrated by his refusal to admit any feelings for her; or for Maxim, or anybody else for that matter. He admits his locked up and empty inside, and prefers to stay that way, uninvolved and independent. She has a breakdown, drinks, makes a scene at a café, and Stephan becomes the object of derision by his friend Maxim, who slaps him in anger.
The collapse of this relationship brings about a resolution, and a gradual restoration of Stephan's character. He helps a dying friend in a compassionate scene of euthanasia, something his wife cannot do. Stephan is far from a man without feelings. When he and Maxim meet again, Stephan has moved to a place of his own, where he has established a new workshop, and started a new life. He meets with Camille too, before she goes on a tour--she is now famous. The final meeting is at a café (again) with all three, and it seems Maxim and Camille are now together permanently. Maxim retreats discreetly and leaves the two together for a few moments. Camille shows she has had a revelation. "You loved him, she says, and his replied is, "He was not the only one I loved." Camille and Maxim drive away, and her from her last look at him we know she still loves him (Stephan), and that he still loves her too. It is clear, his love for Maxim was at least as strong, and barrier to any involvement with Camille.
This is a strange phenomenon to the amoral world of today, when betrayal for the same of sex knows no barriers. It's easy to jump into bed with a female who is beautiful and who wants you, and it's even harder where passion is pressing. Camille suffered a rejection of her femaleness, her pride, her beauty, and her talent. She loved Stephan for his unpretentious genius--his subtlety with fixing a musical instrument, his fine sensibility, even his restraint. But she resented his not letting go when the passion was exploding in him too. She could not see his inner struggle, and could not forgive him. Love here is more like a Racinian madness, which needs to be satisfied regardless of ethics or other social restraints. Friendship cannot resist passion--a very French theme, known down the centuries from Racine to Flaubert--but passion is destructive, regardless of specific situations. Stephan reserve seems almost irrational, and yet his struggle--misunderstood for cowardice and lack of commitment--surfaces only momentarily, and at the end eases into a quiet affliction.
There are fine-tuned points here, and this move shows that it is possible to take a story with the possibilities of tragedy and make it uplifting; for in the end both Maxim and Camille understand Stephan's depth and sacrifice. Yet, the trust of a friend means something, a positive note for the withdrawn Stephan (and the brilliance of Auteuil as an actor confirms this), who now wins the sympathy and perhaps the real love of both his friends. He claims no rights of his own, checks both his id and his ego, prefers to be hurt--even a touch of masochism here--knows what it is to be sad, and accepts what he must.
The question for me after viewing this movie repeatedly is whether Stephan loves Camille or not. A superb technician, he avoids her all too obvious admiration, rejects her when she declares herself Auteuil's subtle performance, and the title, suggest a void in his heart, inability to love. My impression is that his battling his real feelings, perhaps in deference to his friend. And when he summon the courage (and compassion) to administer a euthanasia shot to a dying friend, Camille takes a second look at a man she thought lacks a heart. Her parting look at the last café scene clearly shows she still loves him, for different reasons. A fine touch, a refusal to love, when love is also betrayal.