Lost Illusions: Fascinating adaptation of Balzac [critique]

Xavier Giannoli brings Balzac’s novel to the big screen to reveal its treacherous topicality and lets speak about the unstoppable force of its staging. Impressive.

Balzac, terror of schoolchildren overwhelmed by the weight of his descriptions, is very soluble in cinema. For proof, after Eugenie Grandet by Marc Dugain last month, here is Lost illusions by Xavier Giannoli, debunking in order of the small world of Parisian journalism under the Restoration. The big question with each adaptation is of course to point out the glaring topicality of the text. Giannoli does not go by four ways and uses an omnipresent voice-over to deliver the adage of “all rotten” crossing the centuries. It is necessarily edifying and very clever one who could provide him with proof to the contrary. let’s remember that Daisy, his previous opus, already saw an overly generous naïve obtain the favors of picnics. Giannoli is torn by this notion of appearance which can see a ballroom singer, an ordinary good guy or even a tragic crook, tripping over himself in the artificial light of reality.

The filmmaker himself, would he be a little of those, fiction allowing him by a mirror game to put things a little right? Yes Lost Illusions is a fascinating film, it owes it less to Balzac’s reinvented prose than to the strength of his inspiration as a filmmaker. The impressive staging of mastery builds and deconstructs in the same gesture a solid edifice in which the world, turned theater, is populated by fragile puppets. Finally, we will highlight the finesse performance of Benjamin Voisin, formidable in the skin of Lucien de Rubempré, young man (e) lost on whom all our illusions crystallize.

By Xavier Giannoli. With: Benjamin Voisin, Cécile de France, Xavier Dolan, Vincent Lacoste… Duration: 2h29. Release October 20, 2020

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