Tous les matins du monde

Alain Corneau directed this highly affecting and absorbing 1991 French feature about the legendary 17th-century classical musician and composer Sainte Colombe (Jean-Pierre Marielle) and his pupil Marin Marais (played by both Gerard Depardieu and his son, Guillaume Depardieu), who by the time he was 20 wound up playing in Lully's orchestra at the court of Louis XIV. So little is known about Sainte Colombe that the film virtually invents him as a stubborn, eccentric idealist with two daughters (Anne Brochet and Carole Richert), one of whom becomes involved with Marais. Adapted by Corneau and Pascal Quignard from Quignard's novel of the same title (which means “all the mornings of the world”), the film makes very good use of musical pieces by the main characters as well as by Lully, Couperin, and Jordi Savall (who conducts and helps perform the score). Winner of no less than seven Cesars and other prestigious French prizes, this is somewhat better than the middlebrow cultural monuments that usually get such awards; the characters remain fascinating throughout, and the handling of the period is both delicate and highly evocative.

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