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Don't Touch The Axe [DVD]

3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Jeanne Balibar, Guillaume Depardieu, Bulle Ogier, Michel Piccoli, Marc Barbe
  • Directors: Jacques Rivette
  • Format: PAL, Subtitled, Dolby, Digital Sound, Widescreen
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Artificial Eye
  • DVD Release Date: 14 April 2008
  • Run Time: 132 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0013I22FE
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 18,777 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

Jacques Rivette's masterful film tells the tale of an ill-fated love affair between a Parisian socialite and a Napoleonic war hero. Their story unfolds amidst the extravagant balls of restoration-era Paris where the handsome General Armand de Montriveau (Guillaume Depardieu) encounters the beautiful, coquettish but married Antoinette de Langeais (Jeanne Balibar). Vowing that she will be his lover, Montriveau pursues the alluring Antoinette who in turn orchestrates a calculating game of seduction but repeatedly rebuffs his advances. Humiliated, Montriveau seeks revenge just as Antoinette's passion for him awakens, and a perverse romantic power struggle ensues. Once again adapting Balzac the source of his acclaimed 'La Belle Noiseuse' Rivette's subtle and superbly acted drama is a riveting exploration of the intricacies of love and desire. EXTRAS: Interviews with Jeanne Balibar, Guillaume Depardieu and set designer Manu de Chauvigny // Theatrical Trailer


A MASTERPIECE… SUPERB…Compelling from start to end --Time Out

Utterly compelling --The Times

Two commanding lead performances set the air buzzing with passion --Screen International

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Humpty Dumpty on 4 Jun. 2009
Format: DVD
I agree with Peter M. This is an old man's film - Jacques Rivette made in when he was 81 - and has nothing like the energy that fills La Belle Noiseuse from 14 years earlier. Rivette substitutes elegance and repetitive quadrille-like steps for emotional energy in the relationship between our two aristocratic on/off lovers, General de Montriveau (Guillaume Depardieu), and the coquettish Duchesse Antoinette de Langeais (Jeanne Balibar).

I see that Time Out's review says: "it's extraordinarily subtle, akin to the films of Eric Rohmer in its delicate but firm grasp of the complexity of human desire, yet remaining typical of Rivette in the way it skillfully [sic] negotiates the shifting sands of all manner of uncertainties". For me, the reference to Rohmer is misplaced in that Rohmer cares for his characters, even when they are misguided or even ridiculous; the subtlety seems to be an end in itself, a constant puzzle with no solution, and the shifting sands for me swallow up the film and its uncertainties.

There's also an emotional coldness in the direction which prevented me from being engaged in the jousting for its whole length and instead drew attention to the 20 or 30 mins by which it is too long.

In sum, this looks very good but is pretty inert below the surface.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Billy Bunter on 3 July 2008
Format: DVD
Jaques Rivette(the director) recently turned 80 years old, having not made a film since 2003. This lastest edition to an impressive career must surely be his last masterpiece and proof that with film, the older you are, the better you become.

Taken from the Blazac short story, this film is about a playful society woman and a brooding Napoleanic hero's forbidden love affair(maybe not in actual sex, because it's never really explained) but certainly in mind.

In begins somewhere in the Meditearranean, where our man is seen limping around a monastery, in search of something. We slowly realise he has found a woman he was looking for, who has now become a nun and celebate.

Then what begins is a recollection of their initial meeting at a Paris ball, five years previous. What transpires is an often passionate, sometimes dark tale of game playing between the two.

The woman decides she wants to play with him, maybe out of ennui, maybe out of spite. The man, in turn, vows to take her as his mistress - he is powerful, with high friends, a hero, and believes he can take what he wants.

This never happens, and slowly the roles become reversed, as the woman begins to fall for him. When she attempts to tell him that she really is in love with him, he rejects her out of pride. After he disappears for months, she slowly goes out of her mind.

When he returns, she is gone. He vows to look for her and then the film goes full circle and returns to the scene at the monastery at the beginning of the film. I won't give away the ending, and it is tragic, abrupt and incredibly moving.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Peter M on 29 April 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
There is intrigue, passion and the irony of a cruel fate, but somehow you don't really care. Technically it is no doubt strong, perhaps a masterpiece as others have claimed. But it is directed so coolly and the characters are so anaemically underplayed that it fails to stir the heart as the story should - and it certainly doesn't help that you pretty much know the ending before you start because of the flashback framework. (Was that a good idea? I certainly don't believe so). Care also, this is not GERARD Depardieu in the starrring role.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 2 reviews
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By Grady Harp - Published on
Honoré de Balzac's novel LA DUCHESSE DU LANGEAIS has been transformed by screenwriter Pascal Bonitzer for the screen as NE TOUCHEZ PAS A LA HACHE and the result is a mixture of proscenium stage pictures, and scenes separated by written dialogue that merely lets the viewer know such unnecessary details such as that fact that time has passed, and well over two hours of an uninvolving courtship between a sensualist and a coquette. While it is a pleasure to remember the times of Balzac and his way with lusty themes, watching this film version can be tedious - at best.

Fans of director Jacques Rivette will find much to enjoy in this adaptation: the pacing of the film feels important to his concept of the development of the story - the stifling boredom of the evenings of balls in Paris and the isolation of the soldiers' lives, deprived of the companionship of lovely ladies. He has cast Jeanne Balibar as the title character Antoinette de Langeais , a married lady of means with a penchant for flirting and coquettish behavior with important men, and Guillaume Depardieu as General Armand de Montriveau, a war hero who lost his leg and returns to Paris vulnerable for love, namely in the instant attraction to Antoinette. The tale is one of a game of the General's passionate love and the duchess' toying with his advances until a climax is reached which changes the approach of each character with rather disastrous consequences for both.

As a period piece the film works well: the costumes and settings are splendid and the scenes in the endless ballrooms are full of grace and lovely music. But the flow of the encounters between Antoinette and Armand are an interminable series of momentary repetitious encounters with a sound track that seems bent on capturing the opening and closing of doors and the loud pacing of the crippled general as he enters and leaves the naughty lady's chamber. There is little to draw us into caring for the characters and after the first hour and a half of the film the courtship begs our indulgence. In French with English subtitles. Definitely recommended for fans of Jacques Rivette's films or Balzac's stories, but a 'long song' for casual viewers. Grady Harp, July 08
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Metatheatre 14 May 2008
By Doug Anderson - Published on
I saw this film in a fairly intellectual locale (an on-campus theatre at Univ of Miami, FL). As a fan of both the French New Wave and of some of Rivette's previous works (The Nun, La Belle Noiseuse, Secret Defense, Va Savoir), my expectations were in the right place and I thoroughly enjoyed this Restoration-era "love" story (which is really a film about how individuals craft fictions about their own lives and the lives of others). But many of the others in the crowd (many of which were professors) were visibly bored. This is to be expected as Rivette is a filmaker who directs as if there is no real hurry to get anywhere. He intentionally plays with viewer expectations & prefers excruciating exposition to cut-to-the-chase action. His intention is to allow the viewer to inhabit the narrative and interrogate it (just as his protagonists interrogate each other and their own narratives). So, all of Rivette's works work as complex psychological studies but also as meditations on narrative itself. This kind of thing is not for all tastes, expecially not for those who need a bit of action. The action or conflict here is in the interaction between the two protagonists who for various reasons, perhaps only to be guessed at by viewers, prefer to treat life as a seduction/contest of wills/piece of living theatre and action/submission/consummation as the death of seduction/contest/imagination/art.
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