I’m quite the fan of the old French movie Tous les Matins du Monde (1991), which is a coming-of-age story about a young girl named Justine who has to deal with her mother’s illness, bullying, and puberty. It’s a charming, sweet, and beautiful film that holds up well after all these years. I’m so excited to review it on Blu-ray.
Tous le Matins du Monde (All the Mornings of the World) is an endlessly rewarding piece of storytelling that, as far as I can tell, is close to being a masterpiece of not just French cinema, but of cinema itself. Its use of music and depth of understanding of music is close to being unmatched in a film.
A great viol player and composer refuses the king’s desire that he become a court musician and lives a peaceful, sad life in the country with his two daughters until the day a beautiful young man approaches him and asks him to train him.
Marin Marais (Gerard Depardieu), a fat, depressed, and washed-up court musician, laments his life and the choices he made, and tells the story of how he came to be the pupil of Monsieur de Sainte Colombe (Jean-Pierre Marielle), a masterful violist and composer whose works had never been published but were celebrated nonetheless when Colombe would perform them for the court when he was young. Colombe withdrew from the world and abandoned the king’s court when his wife died, only to be ostracized by the king of France and branded a pariah. Their lives remained unaffected until a beautiful young man – Marin (played by Guillaume Depardieu, Gerard’s actual son) – walked there, wanting to be Colombe’s student. Marin and one of Colombe’s daughters, Madeline (Anne Brochet), begin a love connection that ends with her being pregnant, and Marin’s already shaky relationship with Colombe is destroyed when Marin abandons Madeline and Colombe to become a court musician. Madeline falls into a deep melancholy after giving birth to a stillborn child, while Marin climbs to become a court musician and the king’s favorite, no less. Years pass, and Marin becomes famous, while Colombe’s life becomes even more depressing, but Marin never quite grasps the true secrets of music, and knowing this about himself, he yearns for Colombe’s knowledge and unfathomable depths of sorrow, which appear to be the source of Colombe’s strikingly beautiful and sorrowful compositions.
Tous le Matins du Monde (All the Mornings of the World) is an endlessly rewarding piece of storytelling that, as far as I can tell, is close to being a masterpiece of not just French cinema, but of cinema itself. Its use of music and depth of understanding of music is close to being unmatched in a film. Though it recounts a tragic tale, the film has a distinct spiritual and personal aspect that is very uncommon in films, and the performances – particularly those of Marielle and the older Depardieu – are outstanding. Alain Corneau was in charge of the direction. What a wonderful film.
Tous le Matins du Monde has recently been released on Blu-ray by Kino Classics, and it includes a new audio commentary by a film historian, as well as cast interviews, a making-of documentary, and the trailer.
I have been a huge fan of the French New Wave from the very start, from my favorite director Jean-Luc Godard to my favorite actor Jean-Paul Belmondo. In the late 60s, Godard’s film Breathless was a huge success in America with its cool, disjointed style and the famous tagline “Drive carefully”. The film was a revelation to me. A year or so later, I saw Belmondo in a film called The Young Girls of Rochefort, a great mid-career film from a great actor. I was hooked on French cinema. This is a great film from the great Godard (he was aided by young assistants like François Truffaut and Anne-Marie Miéville).. Read more about imdb tous les matins du monde and let us know what you think.
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