The Duchess of Langeais

Critics Consensus

At times plodding and dialogue heavy, The Duchess of Langeais is nevertheless an intriguing and rewarding dissection of class and gender relations.

70%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 66

52%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 865

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Movie Info

In 1820s Paris married socialite Madame de Langeais (Jeanne Balibar) captures the attention of a soldier (Guillaume Depardieu) who vows to make her his lover. Though the soldier, Armand de Montriveau, initially falls for her empty promises of seduction, he soon turns the tables on the cunning temptress.

Cast & Crew

Jeanne Balibar
Antoinette de Langeais
Guillaume Depardieu
Armand de Montriveau
Bulle Ogier
Princesse de Blamont-Chauvry
Michel Piccoli
Vidame de Pamiers
Barbet Schroeder
Le Duc de Grandlieu
Anne Cantineau
Clara de Sérizy
Marc Barbé
Marquis de Ronquerolles
Jacques Rivette
Screenwriter
Pascal Bonitzer
Screenwriter
Christine Laurent
Screenwriter
Luigi Musini
Co-Producer
Ermanno Olmi
Co-Producer
William Lubtchansky
Cinematographer
Show all Cast & Crew

News & Interviews for The Duchess of Langeais (Ne Touchez Pas La Hache)(Don't Touch the Axe)

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

All Critics (66) | Top Critics (30) | Fresh (46) | Rotten (20)

  • Quote not available.

    November 17, 2011 | Rating: 5/5
  • It's charged with nuance yet ultimately an exercise in compressed literary adaptation.

    December 17, 2008 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    October 18, 2008
  • 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.

    June 20, 2008 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    June 19, 2008 | Rating: 3/4
  • Jacques Rivette's Duchess of Langeais seems to me a nearly impeccable work of art -- beautiful, true, profound.

    April 14, 2008 | Rating: 4.5/5

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

  • Jan 03, 2010
    Unfortunately this is the end for Guillaume Depardieu and it isn't as polished as other period pieces that I am more taken with.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Feb 10, 2009
    <b><i>Guillaume Depardieu Like Father like Son, we use to say.</i> <b><u>Ne Touchez Pas La Hache</u> : Don`t touch the Axe. I LOVE FRENCH! I would love to translate the Quotes, though they dont sound tasty like in French. WOT iz wif the review? The rating speaks for itself!
    Lilo C Super Reviewer
  • Mar 09, 2008
    [font=Century Gothic]In "The Duchess of Langeais," it is 1823 and Marquis de Montriveau(Guillaume Depardieu) finally locates Antoinette(Jeanne Balibar), the former Duchess of Langeais, in a convent in Cadiz. Five years previously, they meet at a salon given by Clara de Serizy(Anne Cantineau). At the time, he is a military hero who had been held captive in Africa for two years. And it may be for that reason that she is intrigued by him, even though he is something of a dullard. After their first evening together, she hands him an open invitation to return anytime. At which point, he is convinced that she will become his mistress.(There is a Duke of Langeais but he is never seen.)[/font] [font=Century Gothic][/font] [font=Century Gothic]"The Duchess of Langeais," a relatively brief film from Jacques Rivette, is a pointed look at the aristocracy, in its ascendancy following the fall of Napoleon. With little to do during the day, all they are left with to fill their time are social engagements and balls. And it may be for this very reason that Langeais leads along Montriveau. Remember, a duchess trumps a marquis and rank is everything. For the marquis, an imperialist officer, conquest is everything.[/font] [font=Century Gothic][/font] [font=Century Gothic]But the human element is missing. And I think that is definitely due to the performances which are key in any predominantly two person drama.(Remember "Gabrielle" and "Miss Julie"(1999) for instance.) Depardieu is satisfactory enough but Balibar is definitely lacking. Old pros like Michel Piccoli and Bulle Ogier show the youngsters how it is done.[/font]
    Walter M Super Reviewer

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