Sony Pictures Classics July 2007
Boasting an extraordinary cast, sumptuous production values and a witty and sophisticated script in the tradition of “Shakespeare In Love,” “Moliere,” French director Laurent Tirard’s romantic period drama, reveals the tantalizing mystery behind the birth of France’s greatest dramatist.
The movie begins in Paris, in 1644, when the 22-year-old Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, also known as Moliere, is not yet the writer that history recognizes as the father & true master of comic satire, author of “The Misanthrope” and “Tartuffe,” and a dramatist to rank alongside Shakespeare and Sophocles. Far from it; he is in fact, a failed actor.
Moliere’s Illustrious Theatre Troupe, founded the previous year, is bankrupt. Hounded by creditors, Molire is thrown into jail, released, and then swiftly imprisoned again. When the jailors finally let him go, he disappears. The combined efforts of historians have unearthed no trace of him before his reappearance, several months later, when his troupe begins touring the provinces–a tour that will last for thirteen years, and culminate in Molire’s triumphant return to Paris in 1658.
What happened to Molire during these mysterious lost months
Molire, we discover, has been released from prison by a wealthy bourgeois, Monsieur Jourdain, who settled the young actor’s debts on the understanding that he will teach him the craft of the stage. Hungry for recognition, Jourdain is infatuated with the lovely but poisonous Celimene, whose salon gathers together suitors & great wits.
But the affair must remain secret, kept at all costs from Jourdain’s wife, Elmire, a wonderful woman with whom Molire himself falls headlong in love. Unfortunately for him, Jourdain has presented Molire as Monsieur Tartuffe, an austere private tutor, to justify his presence. Elmire has nothing but the harshest words for this holier-than-thou figure that has invaded her home. Trapped in this untenable situation, Molire will experience all manner of events that will open his eyes and his mind, both to life itself and to his work as an artist. It is from the heart of this tale, and from his passion for Elmire, that Molire the great dramatist is born.
Molire (Romain Duris)
Jourdain (Fabrice Luchini)
Elmire (Laura Morante)
Dorante (Edouard Baer)
Celimene (Ludivine Sagnier)
Henriette (Fanny Valette)
Director: Laurent Tirard
Screenplay Laurent Tirard and Grgoire Vigneron
Director of Photography: Gilles Henry
Art Director: Franoise Dupertuis
Costume Designer: Pierre-Jean Larroque