During the making of A Few Days with Me</em>, Sautet and leading man Daniel Auteuil happened upon Mikhail Lermontov’s 1839 novella Princess Mary, about a Russian Army officer’s calculating pursuit of a woman for whom he harbors no genuine feelings. For the magnificent A Heart in Winter, Sautet devised a loose modern interpretation of Lermontov’s tale, casting Auteuil in the role of Stéphane, a gifted violin maker and repairman who lives a quiet, solitary existence devoted to his work and seemingly immune to the stirrings of the heart. But something seems to shift in Stéphane when he meets Camille (Emmanuelle Béart), a Ravel-playing violin virtuoso who happens to be the new mistress of Stéphane’s longtime business partner, Maxime (André Dussollier). Gradually, Stéphane emerges as an unexpected rival for Camille’s affections, but are his feelings genuine, or is Camille merely a pawn in a game of one-upmanship between these two old friends? In his penultimate and most mysteriously beautiful film, Sautet offers no simple explanations for the things men do in the name of love and jealousy, offering instead an impeccably observed, brilliantly acted study of human behavior in which scarcely a false note is struck. (Béart spent a year learning to play violin in preparation for her role.) Winner of five prizes at the 1992 Venice Film Festival, including the SIlver Lion for Best Director. Print courtesy of the Sundance Collection at the UCLA Film & Television Archive.
“A sublimely sensual and sophisticated love story.”—Acquarello, Strictly Film School
“Has the intensity and delicacy of a great short story. It reveals how superficial most movie romances are—because they make love too simple, and too easy a solution.”—Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times