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The Children of the Century (1999)

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The Children of the Century (1999)

Juliette Binoche plays Baroness Dudevant who, trapped in a loveless marriage, abandons her husband, moves to Paris with her two children and, adopting the pen name George Sand, becomes an acclaimed writer. But she also becomes infamous for her espousal of women’s right to sexual freedom, her adoption of men’s clothes and her smoking of cigars in the fashionable salons. After meeting poet Alfred de Musset (Benoit Magimel), the pair fall in love and travel to Venice to escape the hostility of Parisian society, but de Musset becomes more enamoured of the brothels, drink and drugs, driving Sand into the arms of Dr Pietro Pagello (Stefano Dionisi).

Kurys, who was Oscar nominated for her film Entre Nous, concentrates on Sand’s earlier life rather than her later affair with Chopin, which was covered by other directors, and the approach shows how the passion of the woman is coupled with an emotional maturity that the younger de Musset can neither match or understand. To him, she is an exotic capture while, for her, the affair becomes shallow instead of gaining in strength. Yet, as Kurys develops the characters, it becomes clear that, although the pair are ill-matched, they are attracted to each other like moths to a flame.

Cast:  Juliette Binoche, Benoît Magimel, Stefano Dionisi, Robin Renucci, Karin Viard, Isabelle Carré, Patrick Chesnais, Arnaud Giovaninetti, Denis Podalydès, Olivier Foubert, Marie-France Mignal, Michel Robin, Ludivine Sagnier, Franck Amiach, Capucine Daumas

Director:  Diane Kurys
Producer:  Alain Sarde, Diane Kurys
Original Music Composer: Luis Bacalov
Cinematography: Vilko Filač Script: Diane Kurys, Murray Head, François-Olivier Rousseau

Running Time: 135 minutes
Released 12 September 1999

Genres:  Drama, Romance
Country:  France
Production Companies:  Studio Images 5, Alexandre Films, Conseil Général de l’Indre, Film4 Productions, Les Films Alain Sarde, PROCIREP, Canal+, France 2 Cinéma

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