All the Mornings of the World (1992)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Biopic [feature], Period Film, Musical Drama  |   Run Time - 114 min.  |   Countries - France   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Michael Costello

Alain Corneau's fictionalization of the relationship between noted 17th century composer Sainte-Colombe and his protégé Marin Marais is a moving meditation on love, music, and regret. Framed in flashbacks, as the now aged Marais, played by Gerard Depardieu, recalls how, as a musically precocious teenage boy who had outstripped his mentors, he was sent to seek further instruction from the brilliant reclusive Sainte-Colombe (Jean-Pierre Marielle). The composer reluctantly accepts the boy at the insistence of his two young, lonely daughters, and the drama of their relationship begins. As the film probes the differences between these two gifted men -- one who has turned away from a world whose hollow vanity he despises to hone his art, and the other, perhaps more gifted, yet loving the world and its pleasures and more profligate with his talents -- it reveals something about the paradoxical nature of artistic creation. For the rueful Marais, painful memories of lost love and talent are all that remain. Although the script, penned by musicologist Pascal Quignard, is a trifle literary, there is little else to find fault with in this fascinating, poignant film. The two leads are exceptionally compelling, and Depardieu's son Guillaume makes an auspicious screen debut as the young Marais. The film, beautifully shot by Yves Angelo, features a remarkable re-creation of the period's limited light sources. Music of the period, including the works of Lully, Couperin, and of course, Marais, and Sainte-Colombe also complement the film.