Les enfants du siècle (The Children of the Century) (1999)
Movie InfoWhile pioneering pre-feminist author George Sand has been the subject of several film biographies focusing on her ten year relationship with Frederick Chopin, Les enfants du siècle looks at an earlier period in Sand's life, in particular her stormy romance with poet Alfred de Musset. In the early 1830's, Baroness Dudevant (Juliette Binoche) has abandoned her husband and arrives in Paris with her children in tow as rioting divides the city. The Baroness decides to reinvent herself and pursue a career as a writer; she renames herself George Sand, begins wearing clothes modeled after men's suits, and smokes cigarettes while penning manifestos denouncing marriage and affirming a woman's right to sexual satisfaction. Alfred de Musset (Benoit Magimel), a noted author, finds her brash nature fascinating, and they become first friends, then lovers as he helps her craft her literary efforts. However, Sand is six years older than de Musset, which leads to a severe conflict with his family; the couple heads to Venice in search of escape and inspiration, but Alfred decides that he prefers the city's brothels to George's company and that they should keep separate rooms from now on. George makes the acquaintance of an Italian doctor, Pagello (Stefano Dionisi), with whom she has a passionate affair; the realization that he's driven her into the arms of another man proves too much for Alfred, who returns to France. Eventually, George leaves Pagello and gives Alfred another chance, a decision she comes to regret. Les Enfants du Siecle had its world premiere at the 1999 Toronto Film Festival. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi … More
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Critic Reviews for Les enfants du siècle (The Children of the Century)
In between all the emotional seesawing, it's hard to figure the depth of these two literary figures, and even the times in which they lived. But they fascinate in their recklessness.
The emotion is impressively true for being so hot-blooded, and both leads are up to the task.
The film's appeal has a lot to do with the casting of Juliette Binoche as Sand, who brings to the role her pale, dark beauty and characteristic warmth.
Kurys never shows why, of all the period's volatile romantic lives, Sand and Musset are worth particular attention.
For all its transparent outrageousness, filmmaker Kurys' tribute to those free spirits is an entertainment for squares.
Is this love or is it masochism? Binoche makes it interesting trying to find out.
Benefits not only from Filac's cinematography but also from the two leads, whose chemistry is immediately apparent.
A bit of a downer and a little over-dramatic at times, but this is a beautiful film for people who like their romances to have that French realism.
While the production details are lavish, film has little insight into the historical period and its artists, particularly in how Sand developed a notorious reputation.
The art direction and costumes are gorgeous and finely detailed, and Kurys' direction is clever and insightful.
Befuddled in its characterizations as it begins to seem as long as the two year affair which is its subject
...the tale of her passionate, tumultuous affair with Musset unfolds as Sand's masculine persona, with its love of life and beauty, takes form.
one of the best films that showcase a romance within the context of an artistic movement
It's not thirsty, consuming passion which drives this movie. No, it's the repetition of said behavior, and so Children of the Century is more mindless love than mad, more grating and boring than anything else.
Audience Reviews for Les enfants du siècle (The Children of the Century)
Visually, this is beautiful. Binoche gives a strong performance as Sand, Magimel is solid as an impetuous, and depraved, de Musset. Costumes, and backdrops, are spectacular. The acting top notch. So why wouldn't I love it? I suppose it's the-- I love him, I hate him, I love him, I hate him, I love him, I hate him, I love him....2.5 hours later, the end. This pretty much sums up this movie for me.More
A desperately tragic overly romanticised film. It's a wonderful piece of costume drama that relishes in the recreation of the 19th century. The dialogue is at the front of a well plotted screenplay, which excellent sparring words between Binoche and Magimel. It really does successfully show a couple who are not right for each other but can't control their absolute pure love for one another. Magimel's defiance of his family is to be expected in such a film, but his genuinely moving connection with Bincohe's children is a wonderful sight. It's hard to discern between Magimel's sometimes madness and his selfishness. Like watching a car crash in slow motion the outcome is inevitable, and Bincohe's sudden relationship with the Italian doctor isn't developed enough to make it belieavble. As this is such an important part it affects the rest of the film in a negative way. Impressive though long winded.More
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