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Édouard Baer and Cécile de France star in Mademoiselle de Joncquières.Supplied

  • Mademoiselle de Joncquières
  • Written and directed by Emmanuel Mouret
  • Starring Cécile de France and Édouard Baer
  • Classification 14A
  • 109 minutes

Rating:

3 out of 4 stars

With the precision of a china painter decorating a Sèvres vase, writer-director Emmanuel Mouret sets up his proposition for a period piece.

Living in seclusion in the countryside, the beautiful widow Madame de La Pommeraye (Cécile de France) confidently resists the advances of the libertine Marquis de Arcis (Édouard Baer) but finally falls for the intense romantic companionship that he seems to offer as both friend and lover. When he inevitably bores of her, she plots her revenge, using as her bait the apparently virginal Mademoiselle de Joncquières (Alice Isaaz).

Lush costumes, languid pacing and the elaborate syntax of the 18th century all create an exquisitely measured effect. The twisting plot is delightful to follow, and the film is always gorgeous to look at. Still, the emotional restraint of the piece does leave the plight of both the lovelorn widow and the principled title character underexplored.

Mademoiselle de Joncquières opens May 6 at the TIFF Lightbox in Toronto.

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