Bicycling with Molière

2013 [FRENCH]

Comedy / Drama

IMDb Rating 6.6 10 2778

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Uploaded By: FREEMAN
February 03, 2021 at 02:48 AM


Lambert Wilson as Gauthier Valence
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
966.47 MB
French 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 45 min
P/S 0 / 7
1.94 GB
French 5.1
23.976 fps
1 hr 45 min
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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by dimitris-maglaras 8 / 10

A Gem: Tribute to Molière's Misanthrope, Great Acting Performances, Comedy Of Manners Morphing Into Psychological Drama.

A once great actor, Serge Tanneur (Fabrice Luchini), has retired from the limelight, in the process becoming a misanthrope not unlike Molière's famous character. For the past three years he has lived in solitude on the Île de Ré, spending his time cycling through the windswept landscape. He rejects society so much that he refuses to connect his septic tank to the main sewage pipe network. As a result, his house stinks. (Later, after the movie has been watched, this is revealed to have been a harbinger of the tragedy to come, but at this point of the movie it is comedic.) Fellow actor Gauthier Valence (Lambert Wilson), whose career is flying high, is planning a production of Molière's play Le Misanthrope and wants to offer Serge, first the second role, then, after Serge's insistence that he would only play the title role, the title role in rotation.

Instead of committing, Serge suggests they rehearse together for the week, and Gauthier changes his plans and withdraws from his appointments and obligations for the better part of the week. Almost secluded, the two rehearse the play rotating the title role among them. It is never clear whether Serge will accept, or whether he has really become a misanthrope who relishes at exposing other peoples' real or just made up weaknesses. The scenes where they rehearse together are magnificent ---high quality theater-in-a-movie---, the scenery is superb. The viewer is captivated, and begins to relax enjoying the star actors' theatrical performances. The film is replete with satire to the emptiness of modernity, for example when the young beautiful girl who is currently a rising porn actress (with her family's and boyfriend's approval) is revealed to have real Molière actress potential. For the greater part, it looks and feels like a cultivated bitter-sweet comedy of manners, not unlike Molière's original. But gradually then suddenly, the comedy of manners morphs into a full-blown psychological drama, as Serge is revealed to be less of Molière's charming character and more of a modern-day psychotic intent on destructing the conventions and indeed the basic human empathy that together hold the social fabric. Gauthier is also revealed to have faults, as do all of us (quote Molière), but, unlike Serge and like Molière's character, he gradually acknowledges them (if he had not already done from the beginning), and this makes him human and in the end likable. It helps that the actor's real person naturally emits a subtle melancholic charm.

Alceste à bicyclette pays tribute to France's greatest playwright. It pays tribute to the beauty of 17th century French language (the fact that at this writing there are no French subtitles available is a tribute to the inability of France's cultural bureaucracy to direct a trifle of funds where they might have the greatest effect). And it is a great movie in its own right. It may be acknowledged to have been a piece célèbre of a new cinematic genre, namely a comedy of manners gradually morphing into a psychological drama. Superb scenario. Magnificent performances by Fabrice Luchini and Lambert Wilson: this is a movie based not on special effects but on theatrical acting (content and notion being conveyed by diction) and cinematic acting (content and notion being conveyed by subtle facial expressions). One gets a feeling why the Comédie Française has maintained such a hold on European high culture for so long a time. Blessed be France's cinematic industry for churning out gems like that year after year.

Reviewed by dromasca 8 / 10

playing Moliere

Gauthier Valence is a successful actor. He plays in a prime time soap opera which earns him enough glory to be recognized in the streets and markets and enough money to allow him to put on stage the most ambitious production any French actor dreams about – Moliere's Le Misanthtrope. Of course he sees himself in the lead role of Alceste, but for the second role of the play, Philinte, he wants to get the participation of his friend, Serge Tanneur, who retired a few years before in a remote corner of France, on the shores of the Atlantic. When traveling to obtain his friend's (and maybe rival) participation in the production he will find not only that Serge believes that he is the one fit for the lead role, but also that in order to enroll him he will need to engage in a game of rehearsals, first for one day, then for the rest of the week. Did Serge really give up acting, or is he playing a game of power with his old friend and rival, who apparently has so different conceptions about life and acting? Who is the playwright, who is the director, who is the actor in this play?

The series of rehearsals that the two actors play occupy much and the best part of the film. I am just sorry that I did not know how important a role the text of Moliere plays in this film, I would have read it before, as the feelings of the two characters are often expressed by the two actors using the replicas of the play and through the way they act alternatively the roles of Alceste and Philinte. It is amazing how fascinating are the scenes where we see the two men working together and confronting each other. Their role swapping is at the same time a fight for control and a way of marking the differences in their approaches towards acting and towards life, it defines the relation with the other characters (yes, there are several women in the story and one of them plays a relatively small but key role – cherchez la femme), and the complex relations of respect, rivalry and friendship between the two of them.

'Alceste a bicyclette' (English title – Cycling with Moliere) directed by Philippe Le Guay is the second excellent French film that I see in the time of a few weeks (the other one was the Allen-esque 'Dans la maison'), and the lead actor (as Serge Taneur) is again Fabrice Luchini who is also a co-author of the script. His partner is Lambert Wilson whose figure is maybe recognizable from a number of Hollywood productions, but who really gets here a great role in the tradition of the French theater and cinema. There is some good camera work by Jean-Claude Larrieu using the fabulous beaches at the Atlantic and the endless roads with the heroes riding bicycles, but most of the action takes place between the walls of the decrepit and overpriced house where the two actors rehearse Moliere. It may be the dream of any French actor to play Moliere or a play turning around Moliere's texts. It is the dream of any lover of French cinema and theater to see such a film. But better come prepared. Read Le Misanthrope first!

Reviewed by jakob13 6 / 10

Misanthrope in spite of himself

Philippe Le Guay has cut his film to fit the talent of Fabrice Luchini in his 2014 Bicycling with Moliere. Luchini is hardly a household name in the US, but he is a welcome, much appreciated and feted actor in Europe from the Atlantic to the Urals. His distinctive voice is not unknown in Africa, Latin America and Asia. To give the American English speakers an idea of his talent, Luchini measures, as a classical and cinema actor, up to John Gielgud. Serge Tanneur (Luchini), after a long career in theatre, withdraws to splendid solitude in an island off the French coast. Gauthier Valence (Lambert Wilson) comes to the island to woo his friend Serge back to the stage in Moliére's Le Misanthrope, a play that Tanneur has often played during his 30-year career.

Valence suggests that Tanneur play as against type the role of Philint, and he takes the plum role of Alceste, the Misanthrope.

Serge at first rebuffs his friends, but Valance, a star in a successful soap opera, offers a tempting off of alternating roles, a novel idea that would guarantee the play's box-office success.

And so the stage is set as the two friends personify the modern Alceste (Luchini) and Philint (Wilson) in their personal relationship.

And so, Serge puts Valance through his paces whilst bicycling through the high- and byways of the island.

Like Philint, Valence cares for Alceste, his acerbic friend Tanneur. As the film rolls on, it is obvious to everyone but Valence, he is not up to the central role of Le Misanthrope. Still Serge walks him through his paces, correcting his pronunciation to fit the Alexandrine metre the play is written, as well as its complexities of the play. And yet, Valence muddles the script.

In a closing scene, we see Luchini wearing the 16-century dress of Alceste peddling towards a cocktail party to confront Philinth whom he feels has betrayed him.

And he parts company with Valance by refusing to play no role but that of Alceste., thereby underscoring he is a modern Alceste who not only in a vein of irony and bitter-comic relief pointing out flaws in the human character, but also shuts out any reconciliation, not a resolution to the weaknesses of man.

As the camera zooms in on Luchini sitting alone of a beach, he recites with a touch of pathos,

"My hate is general, I detest all men; Some because they are wicked and do evil, Others because they tolerate the wicked, Refusing them the active vigorous scorn Which vice should stimulate in virtuous minds."

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