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Les Enfants du siecle

The Children of the Century

Noted for her semi-autobiographical works (Diablo menthe, Coup de foudre), director Diane Kurys has now made a biographical film about the turbulent love affair between George Sand (1804 – 1876) and Alfred de Musset, two children of the 19th century who were as noted for their amorous exploits as their literary achievements. The film opens in the early 1800s, when Baroness Dudevant (Juliette Binoche) has abandoned her husband and arrives in Paris with her children in tow as rioting divides the city. She changes her name to George Sand, begins wearing men’s clothes, and smokes cigarettes while penning manifestos denouncing marriage and affirming a woman’s right to sexual freedom. Alfred de Musset (Benoit Magimel) admires the talented Sand for standing up to her misogynist peers, and they become first friends, then lovers. Despite its expensive production values, Les Enfants is not another traditional costume drama. Kurys’s contemporary approach shakes the dust off the romantic movement, and Binoche imbues the role of Sand with considerable sex appeal.

France, 1999.
English subtitles.
Colour.
Dolby digital stereo.
135 min.

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