Daniel Auteuil and Emmanuelle Béart from Manon of the Spring (1986) co-star once again in Un Coeur en Hiver, playing characters whose distance from each others' lives belies the enormous emotional impact they have on one another. Directed by Claude Sautet, whose 40-year career included the Oscar-winning César et Rosalie (1972), Un Coeur en Hiver is a remarkably restrained film with torrents of feeling just under the surface. Auteuil plays Stephane, partner in an exclusive violin brokerage. His older business partner Maxime (Andre Dussolier) has a lovely new violinist girlfriend, Camille (Béart), who stirs Stephane but is ultimately rejected by him, sending all three characters into a spin that destroys their delicate, symbiotic balance. Hovering over this story is an unusual musical motif that is key to the characters' inner motivations. Violins play, and play on camera, all through the film, but the nature of Stephane's craft, Camille's career, and Maxime's profits is that the music can always be refined, tinkered with, changed with a twist of this or a bit of that. That's precisely how they conduct their relationships and lives -- with a fragile sense of security and no idea when to stop manipulating life for effect.
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