During the time when it was produced, “The Horseman on the Roof” (a film adaption of Jean Giono’s novel of the same name) was thought to be one of the most expensive films ever shot in France. The film tells a tale of love and tragedy in 1830s France.
The story opens right smack in the midst of Italian revolutionary named Angelo (played by Olivier Martinez) on the run from law. He’s forced into France while a cholera epidemic sweeps Europe. Expect to see people dropping like dead flies all around him while he runs through exquisite scenery, beautiful countrysides, and quaint little towns.
Then, he conveniently takes refuge in the home of a woman named Pauline (played by Juliette Binoche) and naturally, an attraction starts growing between them.
Although they try to deny it.
See, Pauline is not exactly “alone” – she is the wife of a French nobleman. And she wants to return to the quarantined areas of France to find him. So together, both Angelo and Pauline head out across the countryside in search of their belonging.
As scary as the 19th century cholera epidemic is, they both manage to find moments of romance in their adventure. Of course, as lead characters, they’re meant to fall in love.
Our take? As with most French films, prepare to listen to and hang on to every single word – especially if French is not your first language. The monologues go on for long stretches at times and sometimes, even with the help of subtitles, it fails to make sense. The existing characters tend to talk about characters of places that don’t actually appear in the film!
On the other hand, it’s quite literally eye candy for those of you who love scenic settings. Lush countryside and rolling hills, yes please!
As always, no spoilers! “The Horseman on the Roof” will be screening at Golden Screen Cinemas (GSC) in conjunction with the French Art and Film Festival (FAFF) 2013 from 25th April to 26th May 2013 in Kuala Lumpur and Penang. So go catch it on the silver screen.