This vibrantly beautiful French film, about two seventeenth-century composers who played the viol (cello), toys cleverly with history in the manner of Amadeus. Gérard Depardieu stars as Marin Marais, a dissolute musician looking back on his youth. The teen Marais – the actor's son, Guillaume Depardieu, is sensational in his first screen role – studies with a stern and reclusive master, Sainte Colombe (Jean-Pierre Marielle). Seduced by the glamour of the king's court, the ambitious student ultimately rejects Sainte Colombe's discipline and his daughter (Anne Brochet). Though the film is strikingly directed by Alain Corneau, who draws superb performances, it's the music – hauntingly played by Jordi Savall – that gives wings to this rueful tale of art, love and loss.
From The Archives Issue 644: November 26, 1992