The Earrings of Madame de...

dir. Max Ophüls

The Earrings of Madame de...

dir. Max Ophüls

TIFF Cinematheque - Retrospective

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Max Ophüls' gloriously beautiful belle époque epic follows the circuitous route of a pair of earrings as they are passed from husband to moneylender to lover to mistress and back again, their journey revealing a society riddled by hypocrisy and betrayal.
"When people have asked me to the name the greatest film of all time ... my instant answer has been unvarying for the past thirty years or so: Max Ophüls' Madame de..." (Andrew Sarris). Shot in the director's trademark visual style — a swirling camera, extravagantly decorative sets and costumes — Ophüls' belle époque epic follows the circuitous route of a pair of earrings as they pass from France to Constantinople, from husband to moneylender to lover to mistress and back again, their journey revealing a society riddled by hypocrisy and betrayal. Danièlle Darrieux, Charles Boyer and Vittorio De Sica turn in flawless performances as Ophüls' ill-fated aristocrats; no doubt Demy had Madame de... in mind when he gave Darrieux one of her last and greatest roles in Une chambre en ville. "Perfection ... A novelist may catch us up in the flow of words; Ophüls catches us up in the restless flow of his images ... Should the day ever come when movies are granted the same respect as other arts, The Earrings of Madame de... will instantly be recognized as one of the most beautiful things ever created by human hands" (Dave Kehr, The New York Times).