A nostalgic film “Tousles Matins du Monde”
I used to have a VHS copy of this film, and I can’t tell you how many times I have watched it. I think I’ve watched it probably second only to “Round Midnight” (A jazz film). The days of tapes are over, and the days of DVDs are here, but happily, these days, I can watch them on YouTube. It’s a good idea to watch it for a while until it gets deleted (as of today, unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be up fully on YouTube).
The movie starts with the “reminiscence” scene of the old Marin Marais. At the beginning of the film, during the rehearsal scene of “The Bells of Saint Genevieve”, the old Marais suddenly calls the musicians to his side and makes them sit down. And says, “Gentlemen, I am going to tell you a story about my teacher. He begins to speak quietly.
First, he tells them about the “personality” of his teacher, Sainte-Colombe. He talks about his strict approach to music, his stoic and Frugal daily life, and his two daughters (Madeleine and Toinette). The child actor, Toinette, is very cute. Noelle, sung by the two child actors, is very heartfelt. Sainte-Colombe, widowed by his beautiful wife, hates the world and lives a life of a “recluse. The aristocrats who hear rumors about him try to invite him to Versailles, but he turns them away each time. One day, Sainte-Colombe uses the money from the sale of his horse to build a hut where he can practice his viol.
A few days later the young Marin Marais comes to ask Sainte-Colombe to teach him. Sainte-Colombe recognizes the young man’s talent at first sight. At first, the teacher and his students get along well. However, the rift between Marais, who was seeking “worldly fame,” and his teacher, who was a “seeker,” deepened. When Marais says, “I want to go to town and become famous,” he becomes furious and smashes Marais’s instrument. In this way, Marais is excommunicated. However, Marais has already fallen in love with his eldest daughter, Madeleine. Marais is then hired as a musician at Versailles.
Sainte-Colombe sometimes sees a vision (ghost?) of his wife. Sainte-Colombe goes to a Christmas mass with his wife’s ghost. How beautiful the scene is! How poignant Couperin’s “Lecons de Tenebres” is!
Time goes by, and Marais succeeds Lully at Versailles and is in charge of the orchestra. One day, during a rehearsal, he receives a letter from Madeleine, who is ill and wants to see him. Madeleine asks Marais to play a piece he once wrote for her, but when Marais starts to play it unenthusiasticly, she gets angry and says, “Play it slower! After Marais leaves, Madeleine hangs herself using the ribbon from the shoe he once gave her. After the death of his daughter, Sainte-Colombe spends more and more time as a “recluse” avoiding the world. Then, one night, he receives a surprise visitor… The two reunite and begin their “last lesson.
This is a superb film. The images are just beautiful. The music inserted in the film is the finest and most moving performance by Jordi Savall and Montserrat Figueras. Last but not least, all the actors except for Mr. Sainte-Colombe seem to be able to play the viol, and their left hand fingering matches the music. Mr. Sainte-Colombe should have been taught better, at least for the close-up scenes. #baroque #marais #saintecolombe #片山俊幸