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The Romance of Astrea and Celadon

3.6 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Eric Rohmer's self-proclaimed final film, based on the 17th century novel "L'Astree" by Honoré d'Urfé

In an enchanted, mythical forest in 5th century France, star-crossed lovers Astrea (Stéphanie Crayencour) and Celadon (Andy Gillet) are kept apart by their feuding families. After Astrea thinks she witnesses Celadon flirting with another belle, she regretfully sends him away. Surrounded by rivals, nymphs and druids, the two must overcome jealousy, temptations and other-worldly obstacles to keep their passion alive in this fairytale-styled romance from acclaimed director Eric Rohmer.


Special Features

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Product Details

  • Actors: Stéphanie Crayencour, Andy Gillet, Jocelyn Quivrin, Cecile Cassel, Alain Libolt
  • Directors: Eric Rohmer
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, Full Screen, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Koch Lorber Films
  • DVD Release Date: February 10, 2009
  • Run Time: 109 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001JQHT62
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #139,960 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Romance of Astrea and Celadon" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Howard Schumann on February 14, 2009
Format: DVD
Eric Rohmer's announced last film, The Romance of Astrea and Céladon, is a costumed period piece based on a 1610 novel by Honoré d'Urfé that imagines what life was like in Fifth century Gaul. It is a work of sublime physical beauty and surprising eroticism that looks both backwards and forwards in time. While it appears to be a look back at a naïve and outdated way of life, it may indeed be the opposite - Rohmer's final rebuke of the spiritual emptiness of the modern world, and a preview of a new world struggling to be born. This strange dichotomy is implied by the unusual preface in which a voice announces that the story had to be moved from the Forez plain, "now disfigured by urban blight and conifer plantations, to another part of France whose scenery has retained its wild poetry and bucolic charm."

Rohmer transports the viewer to a world of idyllic streams and forests where shepherds dress in the tunics of the Seventeenth century. Celadon (Andy Gillet), a young man of noble birth has chosen the simple life of a shepherd and is deeply in love with Astrea (Stephanie Crayencour), a shepherdess of more modest family lineage. Though the film in lesser hands might have seemed a bit silly, Rohmer's straightforward direction reveals an emotional truth often obscured by modern cinematic techniques of fast cuts, hand-held camerawork, and curse words that are supposed to enhance "realism.

At a family gathering, Céladon pretends to be infatuated with Amynthe (Priscilla Galland) to mollify his and Astrea's parents who are bickering, but when Astrea sees him kiss the other woman, she is racked by jealousy and orders Celadon to stay away from her forever "unless I bid you otherwise".
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Format: DVD
You should be aware that this film has an original aspect ratio of 1.85:1. This mutilated print is pan-and-scan. If you want to pay for only 2/3 of the original film, OK: but you need to know you're being cheated.
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Format: DVD
"Astrea and Celadon" is as beautifully realised as anything Rohmer ever did in terms of the staging, the choreographing of the actors' movements in relation to each other, and their placement within natural landscapes; and it revels in the same sly, witty, touching and subtle complexities of attitude, of give-and-take between the characters that distinguished the best of this great director's films for over four decades. The final scene of reconciliation between the lovers, Celadon still disguised as a girl - indeed, wearing Astrea's dress - is not only deeply moving but deliriously erotic too!

Some further observations: (1) When the two women rescue the unconscious Celadon from the riverbank, both fall for him, but haughty Galatea wishes to ensnare him while Leonidas loves him selflessly and seeks only to free him. (2) Taking issue with Celadon's brother Lycidas and his idealised view of commitment and fidelity, Hylas the minstrel praises a promiscuous attitude to love, and his two "groupies" hang onto his arms, and his every word. Next time we see them, at the woodland shrine Celadon has created in honour of Astrea, the girls have clearly tired of him and keep their distance. (3) The speech made by Adamas the druid in the presence of the Roman god statues cleverly conflates elements of theology from four different periods: Ancient Rome, Medieval France, 17th century France (when the original romance was written) ... and the present day! (4) This radiant, understated film repays repeat viewings: all kinds of subtleties become apparent.
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Format: DVD
Rohmer has long been known to take as subject in comedies,romances and moral tales the conflict between desire,the reality in which characters function,and the morality by which they live,setting up a dialectic of philosophical rumination.People talk about love,it's their thoughts rather than their actions he explores.Dialogue is filmed as a part of the landscape:"I show people who move and speak".In The Romance of Astrea and Celadon,he retreats to the bucolic pastures of 5th century Gaul,the singing,dancing and loving of shepherds and shepherdesses,as `17thcentury people imagined them' from Honore D'Urfe's novel L'Astree, a fabulous tale of love, heartbreak and cross-dressing among young shepherds,nymphs and druids in fifth-century Gaul: of earthly rather than celestial values.

He seems to be stripping back the complexity and sophistication of civilization and working from a simpler palette. Rural life provides a model of a simpler,more wholesome way of life than court or city,the formalized rituals of courtly love. Idealized and engaging: dark, dusky-eyed Celadon (Andy Gillet) throws himself in the river when blond-tressed lover Astrea (Stéphanie Crayencour) rejects his protestations of innocence of infidelity, butsurvives to receive a fundamental sentimental education, not least at the sensuous hands of a party of diaphanous nymphs.He is under a curse never to see her again.The paradoxes of life between heart and head,body and soul,sex and love play out.As he lives in the forest he is taught valuable lessons by a druid that he could get close to Astrea under disguise.

He secretly insinuates himself into her company disguised as a girl.Think of mid- period Shakespearian comedy romances like As You Like It.
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