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Despite the good cinematography, I can only remember Éternité as a film promoting birth control.
Largo, Concerto No. 5 in F minor, BWV 1056 - Sebastian Bach
Sarabande, Suite in E minor, HWV 429 - Friedrich Händel
Alla Siciliana, Concerto in D minor, BWV 1063 - Sebastian Bach
Consolation S.172, No.3, Lento placido - Franz Liszt
Piano Sonata No. 32, II: Arietta - Adagio molto semplice e cantabile, Ludwig van Beethoven
Lágrima - Francisco TÁRREGA
Concerto in G major, Adagio Assai - Maurice Ravel
Préludes, livre I, 6. Des pas sur la neige - Claude Debussy
The Awaking Child's Hymn, Poetic and Religious Harmonies S. 173 - Franz Liszt
Liebestraum No. 1 Ab major - Franz Liszt
Clair de lune - Claude Debussy
Requiem, Op. 48 - In Paradisum - Gabriel Fauré
The Blessing of God in Solitude, Poetic and Religious Harmonies S. 173 - Franz Liszt
L'heure Exquise - Paul Verlaine Poem & Reynaldo Hahn
Fantasia on an Ostinato - John Corigliano
Largo, Five piano pieces (Fünf Klavierstücke) Op. 3 - Richard Strauss
Piano Sonata No.28 In A, Op.101 - 3. Langsam und sehnsuchtsvoll (Adagio ma non troppo, con affetto) - Ludwig van Beethoven
Depuis le jour où je me suis donnée, act 3 - Gustave Charpentier
Arabesque n°1 - Claude Debussy
Menuett in G minor, HWV 434 - Friedrich Händel
Prelude in B minor - (Bach / Siloti)
Ballade slave - Claude Debussy
Adagio Cantabile, piano Sonata in B minor op. 5 - Richard Strauss
Concerto in d minor bwv 974, Adagio - Sebastian Bach
Prelude in B minor, sempre legato - (Bach / Siloti)
Requiem, Op. 48 - Sanctus - Gabriel Fauré
Années de pèlerinage, deuxième année - Italie, S161, No 1: Sposalizio - Franz Liszt
Barcarolle - Napoleon Coste
Etude en La mineur - Dioniso Aguado
Beautifully made but somehow pale & hollow deep down.
Anyone who has ever researched their family tree has probably given thought to how their ancestors went about their daily lives. In the case of my family, I imagine that it was always grey and cloudy outside; never sunny and warm. Meals - dinner AND breakfast - consisted of flanken (beef short rib) and a boiled potato. The men in my lineage were either tailors or soap makers; the women were all homemakers. Of course, there were children - lots of children - and some of them died way too young either slowly from disease or quickly from ethnic cleansing. My ancestors' voices are mute, save for the odd pearl of wisdom that somehow got passed down from generation to generation and across the Atlantic and then the Pacific. In its place, there's a klezmer soundtrack. No one ever smiles and even during celebrations no one is ever happy.
That's what the film, ETERNITY (ÉTERNITÉ), is about. The story follows three generations of a French family, from the late 1800s up to the present day. Along the way, babies are born, some of the children grow up and get married while others die far too young, adults also die and the cycle repeats. Here, too, there is little dialogue because no one remembers what these people talked about back then. Instead, there's a soundtrack of classical music by Debussy, Bach and Liszt, among others. Unlike my family, this family is quite well off financially, living in a beautiful country estate in the south of France where it's always late summer or early fall. Everyone is bathed in sunshine and their clothes are always immaculately clean.
Valentine (Audrey Tautou, AMELIE FROM MONTMARTRE) is the matriarch of this privileged family but even her story begins with us learning that she was the youngest of five children, two of whom died as infants. When she is 20, we're told by the film's narrator, she marries Jules (Arieh Worthalter), a seemingly nice guy who just sits around all day playing his guitar. In short order, Valentine is pumping out baby after baby, and although the couple lose a few early on, life is good. Fortune changes for the couple with the war (World War I perhaps?) though, and Valentine's family is soon decimated. But Valentine soldiers on. One son, Henri (Belgian actor, Jérémie Renier) grows up and marries his childhood sweetheart, Mathilde (Mélanie Laurent, INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS), and it's not long before she, too, is pumping out baby after baby. Alas, their lives are not all aglow either as they suffer from the loss of some of their offspring too. Fortunately, they find both strength and solace in the company of their best friends and housemates Gabrielle (Bérénice Bejo, THE ARTIST) and Charles (Pierre Deladonchamps) whose lives are on a similar trajectory. Mathilde and Gabrielle are as close as sisters, though they are first cousins. Through tragedy and circumstance, their two families unite to become part of Valentine's ever-growing clan.
On paper, ETERNITY sounds like a great story but, sadly, this is one dull film that seems to last an eternity. After nearly two hours, we know very little about this family other than that they're rich, they never argue and they're blissfully happy except for when they're in mourning. The story is based on a French novel, L'Élégance des veuves ("The Elegance of Widows") by Alice Ferney, which was published in 1995. Ferney is a rather divisive figure, espousing traditional Catholic views on marriage and birth control. On the surface, it would seem somewhat curious the Vietnamese-French director Tran Anh Hung (Oscar nominee THE SCENT OF THE GREEN PAPAYA) would chose this book for his first French-language feature, but in an interview he gave to "Film Talk" a few months back, he said that as his own family is very small and their own stories have been lost forever, he appreciated Ferney's fictional recounting of one family's history.
Fans of director Terrence Malick's more recent works might enjoy this film because it's shot beautifully. If you're looking for drama and action though, look elsewhere.