April 24th, 2008

More Chunnering About Balzac

Balzac does love to shoot the breeze. It's his biggest fault. La Duchesse de Langeais is a pacy little melodrama about a sado-masochistic love affair and he almost sinks it with a huge, largely beside the point, waffle about politics and society. It's as if someone dumped a block of concrete in the stern of a racing skiff. One of the big French critics- it may have been Roland Barthes- said Balzac's moralising windbaggery made him feel physically ill.  It doesn't have that effect on me- I accept it as a part of what he is- I just wish he'd get a move on. 

Jaques Rivette has just filmed the story under Balzac's (much better) working title-  Ne Touchez Pas La Hache. He's got Michel Piccoli and Bulle Ogier playing the old folks. Oh, I've got to see this!