La nuit de Varennes | Chicago Reader

La nuit de Varennes

This 1982 film belongs less to the talented Italian director Ettore Scola than to Gaumont, the French production giant. The historical spectacle is a Gaumont trademark (because no one else in Europe could afford to mount it), and the roles have been bizarrely parceled out among the countries where Gaumont has a distribution setup: Jean-Louis Barrault (France), Marcello Mastroianni (Italy), Hanna Schygulla (West Germany), and Harvey Keitel (the U.S.). They're all rigged up as various historical figures fleeing revolutionary Paris in the wake of the king, and as they sit in their coach they exchange world-weary observations and hindsight wisdom. If you've ever wondered what the French watch instead of Masterpiece Theatre, here's your chance to find out—an hour was enough for me.

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