Illusions Perdues

How often do we get lavish period pieces based on a novel by Honoré de Balzac? I came across this on Amazon Prime Video. According to the Wikipedia article, the film (2021) lost money, though its rating on Rotten Tomatoes is 93/93. It’s a long film — two and a half hours.

According to the Wikipedia article, Balzac’s first novel (1829) imitated the historical novels of Sir Walter Scott. Illusions Perdues (Lost Illusions), however, which was published in serial form between 1837 and 1843, was nothing at all like Walter Scott. Nor was Paris anything like Scotland. The only Balzac I’ve ever read was Le Père Goriot. I’ve ordered a copy of Illusions Perdues and will see if I have any French circuits left.

A very thoughtful piece of piano music is heard several times during this film — Franz Schubert’s Impromptu No. 3 in G♭ major, opus 90. After you hear excerpts in the film, you’ll want to hear the whole piece. The finest performance of this piece I’ve found on YouTube is by Khatia Buniatishvilli:

For extra credit, and to compare performances, here it is played by Alfred Brendel (a recording of which is used in the film). Brendel, by the way, is 93 years old and is still with us.

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