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Balzac

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Overview

Gérard Depardieu stars as the great French author Honoré de Balzac in this historical biography produced for French television. Balzac's childhood is marked by a difficult relationship with his mother, Charlotte-Laure (Jeanne Moreau), whose strident criticism and inability to show affection are not abated when he reaches adulthood. Balzac begins to gain the confidence he needs through his relationship with a wealthy society matron, Madame de Berney (Virna Lisi), but in time he abandons her when he falls in love ...
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Overview

Gérard Depardieu stars as the great French author Honoré de Balzac in this historical biography produced for French television. Balzac's childhood is marked by a difficult relationship with his mother, Charlotte-Laure (Jeanne Moreau), whose strident criticism and inability to show affection are not abated when he reaches adulthood. Balzac begins to gain the confidence he needs through his relationship with a wealthy society matron, Madame de Berney (Virna Lisi), but in time he abandons her when he falls in love with Countess Eva Hanska (Fanny Ardent), who already has a husband. When Madame de Berney dies, Balzac is filled with remorse, and his sorrow inspires him to create some of his greatest work; his writing finally gains the acceptance of the mass audience, and Balzac achieves the fame and wealth he's always wanted. However, Balzac's spending soon begins to outstrip his income, and his new celebrity begins to wane when critics respond coolly to his work. Balzac received its American premiere on the Bravo cable television network.
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Special Features

Letterbox presentation; English 2.0 Dolby Stereo audio; Optional English subtitles; English closed captioned; Digitally mastered; Interactive menus; Scene selection; Trailer gallery
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Richie Unterberger
This three-and-a-half-hour television production, based on Honoré de Balzac's life, is a pretty straightforward docudrama that happens to feature several world-class actors. Due mostly to them, it's above average as TV docudramas go, but doesn't do full justice either to Balzac's life or to the actors involved. Gérard Depardieu, as usual, totally immerses himself in his character as the protagonist, an outsize man with equally outsize appetites for food, women, spending, and above all writing. Fanny Ardant -- who, it's worth remembering, also played alongside Depardieu as a lover in François Truffaut's The Woman Next Door, almost 20 years before this movie -- is satisfactory as the cool, noncommittal countess. Jeanne Moreau is the most notable of the three leads, both because by the late 1990s she wasn't getting nearly as many star turns as Depardieu or Ardant, and because she plays Balzac's mother with chilling, gravel-voiced malice. Still, the movie doesn't shed a great deal of light upon Balzac's actual writing and artistic motivations, and while his star-crossed romance with the countess adds some tension to the narrative, the relationship's too sporadic to engage us as much as the tragic ending would apparently wish. Additionally, though the end of the first part builds to a climax with the onset of an oncoming duel, the suspense is so limply and quickly resolved at the beginning of the second part that the whole situation seems like a contrived tease to rope viewers into watching the next episode.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 1/2/2007
  • UPC: 012236208587
  • Original Release: 1999
  • Rating:

  • Source: Lions Gate
  • Region Code: 1
  • Time: 3:06:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Gérard Depardieu Honore de Balzac
Jeanne Moreau
Virna Lisi
Fanny Ardant
Claude Rich
Technical Credits
Josée Dayan Director
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Balzac: A Passionate Life
1. Third Class [3:40]
2. Doubting So Long [9:17]
3. Place Your Bets [11:06]
4. Just Published [6:38]
5. Like a Friend [7:42]
6. No More [5:22]
7. Code of Arms [6:22]
8. Announcement [7:01]
9. An Exception [7:41]
10. Amusing Myself [8:47]
11. A Surprise [10:18]
12. One Remedy [4:12]
13. A Kiss [3:58]
14. A Coward [7:27]
15. Such a Dreamer [9:26]
16. Another Letter [11:31]
17. Well and Cured [9:14]
18. My Poor Head [5:35]
19. No Law [8:19]
20. So Gifted [11:27]
21. Not Very Well [9:08]
22. A Bad Omen [10:41]
23. Too Late [8:55]
24. Credits [3:05]
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Menu

Disc #1 -- Balzac: A Passionate Life
   Play
   Scene Selection
   Subtitles
      English
      Subtitles: None
   Also From Lionsgate
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 1.5
( 2 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 4, 2011

    only bearable

    I agree with the previous person...C'est terrible! English voices are obnoxious. Would have much preferred French with English subtitles. Will keep trying to find the French version.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A reviewer

    Whoever thought that dubbing it in English instead of hearing the fabulous French should be shot! Yes, you can have subtitles but with bland voices speaking English. It would have been simple to have the original with a choice of English if you wanted,but no.... only English. It ruins the whole movie.

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews