The Romance of Astrea and Celadon

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Venice International Film Festival (In Competition)

VENICE, Italy -- In a land of trees and meadows and gentle people there is a pretty boy named Celadon whose sweetheart is a shepherdess named Andrea. One day, she sees him kiss another girl and sends him away forever. "I will drown myself at once," says Celadon, jumping into the river.

Eric Rohmer is a filmmaker of distinction and no doubt Honore d'Urfe is a writer worthy of respect, but it's difficult to view the French director's irony-free adaptation of the fairy tale "The Romance of Astrea and Celadon" without imaging what fun Kenneth Williams and the rest of the "Carry On" gang would have had with it.

Filmed in the woods with ambient sound full of birds twittering and water rushing, it's a timeless fable about love and separation as Celadon is saved from the river and taken to recover by three beautiful nymphs, Leonide (Cecile Cassel), Silvie (Rosette), and their leader Galathee (Veronique Reymond), who decides she wants the handsome boy for her very own.

Photographed prettily by Diane Baratier but staged without flair, the film's dialogue, at least in its English subtitles, is derisory and the performances are awkward and without polish. Screened in competition at the Venice International Film Festival, it is unlikely to garner audiences beyond France and even there it will require great indulgence.

THE ROMANCE OF ASTREA AND CELADON
Rezo Productions, C.E.R.

Director: Eric Rohmer
Writer: Eric Rohmer, based on the novel "L'Astree" by Honore d'Urfe
Producers: Francoise Etchegaray, Jean-Michel Rey, Philippe Liegeois
Director of photography: Diane Baratier
Production designer: Christian Paumier
Music: Jean-Louis Valero
Costume designers: Pierre-Jean Larroque, Pu-Lai
Editor: Mary Stephen

Cast:
Celadon: Andy Gillet
Astrea: Stephanie Crayencour
Leonide: Cecile Cassel
Galathee: Veronique Reymond
Silvie: Rosette
Lycidas: Jocelyn Quivrin
Phillis: Mathilde Mosnier
Rodolphe: Pauly Hylas
Adamas: Serge Renko
Semyre: Arthur Dupont

No MPAA rating, running time 109 minutes.

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