The self-destructive relationship between 19th-century teenage French poet Arthur Rimbaud and his older mentor Paul Verlaine.
Release Year: 1995
Rating: 6.3/10 (5,617 voted)
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, David Thewlis, Romane Bohringer
In 1871, Paul Verlaine (1844-1896), an established poet, invites boy genius Arthur Rimbaud (1854-1891) to live with Paul and his young pregnant wife, Mathiltde, in her father's home in Paris. Rimbaud's uncouth behavior disrupts the household as well as the insular society of French poets, but Verlaine finds the youth invigorating. Stewed in absinthe and resentment, Verlaine abuses Mathiltde; he and Rimbaud become lovers and abandon her. There are reconciliations and partings with Mathiltde and partings and reconciliations with Rimbaud, until an 1873 incident with a pistol sends one of them to prison. Codas dramatize the poets' final meeting and last illnesses.
Felicie Pasotti Cabarbaye
Isabelle, as a child
Mrs. Maute De Fleurville
Mr. Maute De Fleurville
Bruce Van Barthold
Impassioned by genius. Inflamed by desire. Imprisoned by love.
Fine Line Features |
Release Date: 3 November 1995
Filming Locations: Antwerp, Flanders, Belgium
Did You Know?
River Phoenix was originally attached to the project, but the part of Rimabud went to Leonardo DiCaprio after Phoenix's death.
In the Café Andre where the adult Isabelle Rimbaud meets with Paul Verlaine, the typeface on the window is clearly in Helvetica, a typeface that was not created until 1954.
Sometimes he speaks in a kind of tender dialect of the death which causes repentence, of the unhappy men who certainly exist, of painful tasks and heartrending departures. In the hovels where we got drunk he wept looking at those who surrounded us, the cattle of poverty…
"I'm always chasing Rimbauds"
It's a good thing not too many people saw this film when it came out [no pun
intended], because, if any of DiCaprio's female fans had seen him in this,
one of his best early roles, his career would have been over well before he
was involved in "Titanic." And that's because he's so utterly convincing as
the tortured, bisexual teen genius poet Arthur Rimbaud, that it would
undoubtedly set many of those young ladies to wondering if he'd played the
part a little TOO well, if you get my meaning. If ever there was any such
thing as a male femme fatale, It's Leo right here. Rumor has it that he
tried to have the video pulled a few years ago, right after his "Titanic"
success. It's a good thing he wasn't successful, because I think that this
film rates right along with "The Basketball Diaries" as possibly his best
But it takes two to tango, at least in this case, and David Thewlis is
almost as good opposite DiCaprio as Paul Verlaine, who began as Rimbaud's
mentor and wound up as his long-time lover. As Verlaine was ugly and
overweight, whereas Rimbaud was lithe and handsome, the two seemingly would
have made an unbelieveably odd couple physically, but were drawn together
more by their mutual likes and dislikes rather than physical attraction. And
that's what you sense through all of their scenes together, a meeting of
minds more than a meeting of bodies.
There were many who praised this movie, there were many who hated it, but
love it or hate it, it holds a strange fascination which makes you remember
it long after you've seen it.