La Duchesse de Langeais is the French Wuthering Heights- the story of a life-consuming passion repeatedly thwarted by social convention, religion and the wilful perversity of the two protagonists. First she tortures him, then he tortures her, then she tortures him. A branding iron puts in an appearance- and there is a piratical raid on a convent. Rivette's adaption keeps close to the letter and spirit of Balzac's original, his camera holding the action at arm's length, turning melodrama into case study. Balinbar and Depardieu are tremendous.