“It all started with ink, paper and the love of beauty.”
lost illusions, Xavier Giannoli’s magnificent adaptation of Honoré de Balzac’s epic story of a poet-printer derailed by ambition, is a must-see for lovers of literary films. The French film (subtitled) is set to be released in New York and Los Angeles on June 10, then more widely in the United States.
Set in Paris in 1821, the story follows the young and earnest Lucien de Rubempré (Benjamin Voisin), who flees to Paris to forget love and find success as an author. The setting – from the printing press to the salon to the theater – and the soundscape – the scraping of a pen against paper, the rustle of fans, classical music – set the perfect tone for a story that has the looks “old” but feels contemporary.
Lucien’s interaction with an editor named Dauriat (Gérard Depardieu), for example, will sound all too familiar to 21st century writers:
“Poetry! Nobody buys that, fool.
“A novel? There are thousands of them. Why bother?”
“Because literature is my life.”
“Nobody wants books written by strangers. They don’t sell. I only publish famous authors, risk-free.
A fresh-faced Lucien comes across a group of journalists whose motto is “Controversy sells” – yes, it’s fake news, early 19th century edition. He becomes infamous for his salacious copy, attracting the kind of attention that can only arouse envy and cause betrayal.
Brilliant writing and cinematic direction come together perfectly in lost illusionsand the result is a rich and resonant narrative of Balzac’s classic.
The film shot at international film festivals last fall and won seven Caesars for Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Supporting Actor, Best Male Newcomer, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, and Best Set Design.
Check out the trailer below: