Drama | French with English subtitles | 141 minutes
In 1820s France, 20-year-old Lucien de Rubempré, an idealistic poet and writer, travels from his provincial country home to Paris to seek his fortune. He finds work at a publishing house run by the crass Dauriat. He is assigned to write reviews of theatrical openings. He learns that good reviews are determined not by the quality of the show but by the amount of money the theatrical producer is willing to pay the publishing house. Lucien considers this corrupt and an affront to his artistic integrity. But when his supervisor, Étienne Lousteau, explains good money can be earned doing this, Lucien succumbs. But he needs more. To rise from his humble background, Lucien buys a nobility title. Lucien eventually finds all this class-climbing to be illusory as his life becomes tragic.
Benjamin Voisin (Lucien de Rubempré / Gerard Depardieu (Dauriat) / Vincent Lacoste (Étienne Lousteau)
Why Stream This Film?
- Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 92%
- Metacritic Score: 81
- César Awards: Winner, Best Film; Best Supporting Actor (Vincent Lacoste); Most Promising Actor (Benjamin Voisin)
- Venice Film Festival: Nominated, Golden Lion, Best Film
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This is a cautionary tale about selling out your gifts to the highest bidder, about how naïveté doesn’t stand a chance against the kind of corruption on display in Paris in the 1820s. Lucien’s life is described early on as tragedy, and so even in all the scenes of triumph that follow, impending disaster is always present.
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