Les ailes de la colombe

  • 95'
  • France
  • 1980
Jacquot intelligently updates Henry James' late novel to 1981 in this fast yet severe film, but retains James' original setting, the eternally beautiful and unsettling city of Venice. Isabelle Huppert is the dying rich girl Marie, Michele Placido is the well-meaning lover Sandro, and Dominique Sanda is Catherine Croy, the stunningly beautiful, 'pragmatic' Parisian who throws Sandro into Marie's arms in hopes of a grand inheritance for both of them. Jacquot reduces James' richest novel to its geometrical foundations, with odd yet interesting results. The pace is quick, and the atmosphere of Venice - dark and romantic - is the most consistent presence in the film. Meanwhile, the actors come at their roles from three different directions: Huppert is quite touching, and attacks the character of Marie with her usual precision; Placido gives a nice, characteristically muted naturalistic performance; and Sanda is the least animated of the three, perhaps even less expressive than she was for Bresson. With Philippe Sarde's lush romantic score swelling the soundtrack, the result is odd to say the least, but impressive nonetheless. Perhaps the best scene in the film is a pointed exchange between Sandro and Catherine at a lavish Venetian gathering. (KJ)
Director
Benoît Jacquot
Country of production
France
Production Year
1980
Festival Edition
IFFR 2005
Length
95'
Medium
35mm
International title
The Wings of the Dove
Language
French
Producer
Maurice Bernart
Screenplay
Wim Wenders, Peter Handke, Benoît Jacquot
Editor
Dominique Auvray
Cast
Michele Placido