Dangerous Liaisons is a masterpiece [critique]

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Dangerous relationships
Warner bros

“And, for once, the word isn’t too strong.”

Dangerous relationships, by Stephen Frears, will be rebroadcast this evening on Arte, followed by a documentary on the scandal caused by the publication of the book by Choderlos de Laclos, in 1782. Here is its synopsis: Two brilliant and spiritual aristocrats, the Marquise de Merteuil (Glenn Close) and the attractive Vicomte de Valmont (John Malkovich), sign a pact of “inviolable friendship” at the end of their affair. It is in the name of this one that the Marquise asks Valmont to seduce the candid Cecile de Volanges (Uma Thurman) who will soon marry her ex-favorite, M. de Bastide (Keanu Reeves). But Valmont set out to seduce the virtuous Mme de Tourvel (Michel Pfeiffer).

When it was released in March 1989, the film amazed the editorial staff of First, as Jean-Paul Chaillet wrote in his review. Recalling that it was an adaptation of “the play by the English playwright Christopher Hampton, itself inspired by the famous epistolary novel by Choderlos de Laclos”, this one wroteit “Dangerous relationships, it is first of all a striking gallery of portraits from which the masks fall, revealing the painful realization of the unfathomable disarray of their lives. “ Then he detailed the talent of each, from Glenn Close to Michelle Pfeiffer through Uma Thurman, with a “Special mention to John Malkovich, dazzling with self-control, constantly balancing on the perilous razor’s edge of a role he uniquely inhabits.” He concluded his review “Thunderbolt” Thus : “bringing together the rare alchemy of a stunning staging of inventive virtuosity and a breathtaking direction of actors (…), Stephen Frears, helped by the magnificent work in photography by Philippe Rousselot, made his Dangerous Liaisons not only an eminently personal film but the testament of an era. Frears never watches himself filmed. The camera is thrifty, the lens scans the faces, seeking to guess the true feelings of the characters to expose their ultimate decrepitude with almost cruel indecency. The exposure is total and frontal. And the painful message – cheating of the soul is never rewarded and you probably die a little bit more each time from not knowing the difference between sex and love – is timeless. Dangerous relationships is a masterpiece because of this telescoping in apotheosis. And, for once, the word is not too strong. ”

Darling: loving and romantic Michelle Pfeiffer

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