Don't Touch the Axe (PG)

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The Independent Culture

Not a serial-killer caper but Jacques Rivette's sombre and faintly exasperating romantic drama set in Paris of the 1820s. A young general (Guillaume Depardieu) meets a married beauty (Jeanne Balibar) and launches a courtship.

The duologues between the couple seldom vary in tone: he's the doormat, and she wipes her silk slippers on him. Depardieu makes for a compelling presence, even if he's a bit one-note.

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