112 minutes| France| 1986| Subtitled| Colour| 35mm

The principal players of L’amour à mort (Love Unto Death) are re-united in this adaptation of Henry Bernstein’s 1929 play about romantic obsession and friendship betrayed. Pierre Arditi and Andre Dussollier are violinists who have been friends as youths at the music conservatory. Arditi has settled for a life of domestic contentment whilst Dussollier has gone on to a celebrated recital career. However, during a dinner reunion, Arditi’s wife (Sabine Azema) falls for Dussollier and begins a dangerous affair that will end in tragedy. Previously associated with audacious experiments with montage, Resnais opts here for a style of filmed theatre, which is appropriate for an intimate chamber piece that nevertheless highlights two recurrent themes: female anguish and the impact of the past on the present. The music in his films is always an important feature, and here Brahms’ G Major Violin Sonata is beautifully used to evoke both the shared past of the friends and the passion of the lovers.

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