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cover: Balzac A Passionate Life (1999)

Balzac A Passionate Life (1999)

Director(s): Josee Dayan

Theatrical Release: 1999

Cast: Gerard Depardieu, Jeanne Moreau, Virna Lisi, Fanny Ardant, Claude Rich, Gert Voss

Genre(s): Drama, period piece, biography, TV

Countries: France


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Running Time: 186m.

Gérard Depardieu stars as the great French author Honoré de Balzac in this historical biography produced for French television. Balzac's childhood is marked by a difficult relationship with his mother, Charlotte-Laure (Jeanne Moreau), whose strident criticism and inability to show affection are not abated when he reaches adulthood. Balzac begins to gain the confidence he needs through his relationship with a wealthy society matron, Madame de Berney (Virna Lisi), but in time he abandons her when he falls in love with Countess Eva Hanska (Fanny Ardent), who already has a husband. When Madame de Berney dies, Balzac is filled with remorse, and his sorrow inspires him to create some of his greatest work; his writing finally gains the acceptance of the mass audience, and Balzac achieves the fame and wealth he's always wanted. However, Balzac's spending soon begins to outstrip his income, and his new celebrity begins to wane when critics respond coolly to his work. Balzac received its American premiere on the Bravo cable television network. (allmovie.com)
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