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The Duchess of Langeais (Ne Touchez Pas La Hache)(Don't Touch the Axe) Reviews

Page 1 of 4
Dennis Schwartz
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Well-acted literary period drama based on the 1834 novella La Duchesse de Langeais by Honore Balzac.

Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews | Original Score: B-

April 25, 2012
Joshua Rothkopf
Time Out
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Full Review Source: Time Out | Original Score: 5/5

November 17, 2011
Nora Lee Mandel

Visually arresting period drama finds the core of the emotional life of its characters in the debate between the duchess and the general about love. Balzac fans will delight.

Full Review Source: | Original Score: 8/10

December 17, 2008
Dan Callahan
Slant Magazine

Balibar's sly mouth tightens with mean glee as she plays all the Duchesses' games, and Depardieu's brooding, battered face ceaselessly signals the General's suppressed, sexualized violence.

Full Review Source: Slant Magazine

November 25, 2008
Stephanie Zacharek
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Maybe even Rivette himself is a little too delicate for this ferocious, intensely focused pair. But he's fascinated by them, and ultimately, he loves them.

Full Review Source:

October 18, 2008
Michael Sragow
Baltimore Sun

The Duchess of Langeais is a romantic dance of death.

Full Review Source: Baltimore Sun | Original Score: B+

July 25, 2008
Marjorie Baumgarten
Austin Chronicle

Stands with some of the best efforts of Rivette's long career.

Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle | Original Score: 3.5/4

June 20, 2008
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
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The everyday moviegoer will find it as impenetrable as its heroine. But if you vibrate to nuances of style, if you enjoy tension gathering strength beneath terrible restraint, if you admire great acting, then you will.

Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Original Score: 3.5/4

June 20, 2008
Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
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The director guides the viewer through a sly consideration of near-sociopathic not-quite-lovers, one of whom finds refuge in religion, the other in romantic obsession.

Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune | Original Score: 3/4

June 19, 2008
Marc Mohan

Even though it's nearly 2 1/2 hours, unfolds in flashback and derives from Balzac, then, The Duchess of Langeais is among Rivette's more succinct and approachable works.

Full Review Source: Oregonian | Original Score: B-

May 9, 2008
Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
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The Duchess of Langeais is a stately costume drama of wrenching passions expressed in courtly phrases.

Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune | Original Score: 2.5/4

May 9, 2008
Manohla Dargis
New York Times
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Jacques Rivette's Duchess of Langeais seems to me a nearly impeccable work of art -- beautiful, true, profound.

| Original Score: 4.5/5

April 14, 2008
Stephen Hunter
Washington Post
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It is the ultimate in movie as pane of glass, completely un-self-conscious of its own movieness but simply an intensely focused examination of human behavior on a narrative armature.

Full Review Source: Washington Post

April 10, 2008
Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
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Based on a Balzac story, Rivette's Duchess manages to be both old-fashioned in its settings and circumstances, and coolly modern in its view of thwarted passion and despair.

Full Review Source: Philadelphia Inquirer | Original Score: 3.5/4

March 28, 2008
Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
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The movie's satisfactions are subtle, but they run deep, and there are many.

Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle | Original Score: 4/4

March 21, 2008
Liz Braun
Jam! Movies

Both Jeanne Balibar and Guillaume Depardieu are quite compelling in their roles, and after about an hour, you fall into this film as completely as you'd fall into a book.

Full Review Source: Jam! Movies | Original Score: 3/5

March 21, 2008
Jeffrey M. Anderson
Combustible Celluloid

Without Rivette's usual daring or playfulness, but still a highly accomplished entry in the lazy, stagnant "costume movie" genre.

Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid | Original Score: 3.5/4

March 20, 2008
John Hartl
Seattle Times
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A study in 19th-century European extremes, The Duchess of Langeais may put you off at first, but its playful tone could just as easily leave you pleasantly exhausted.

Full Review Source: Seattle Times | Original Score: 3/4

March 7, 2008
David Denby
New Yorker
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In Jacques Rivette's remarkable The Duchess of Langeais, romantic devotion becomes a perverse kind of warfare, in which a lover who admits that he's in love loses the campaign.

Full Review Source: New Yorker

March 3, 2008
Kevin Thomas
Los Angeles Times
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After more than 50 years of idiosyncratic filmmaking, Rivette, who turns 80 on Saturday, is as intense and rigorous an artist as ever.

Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times | Original Score: 4/5

February 29, 2008

Sight and Sound
June 18, 2012
Peter Keough
Boston Phoenix
April 23, 2009

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
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October 18, 2008
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