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Balzac: A Passionate Life (1999)

PG-13
TV Movie | 240 min | Biography, Drama, Romance

Honoré de Balzac was a man who lived to write. His life was a hard, permanent struggle, from his cold relationship with his mother who was unable to give him the love he needed, to his unsuccessful attempts to make money out of printing ...See moreHonoré de Balzac was a man who lived to write. His life was a hard, permanent struggle, from his cold relationship with his mother who was unable to give him the love he needed, to his unsuccessful attempts to make money out of printing and publishing books. Balzac never gives up, however - even though his dissolute lifestyle keeps landing him in trouble with his creditors. To finally gain acclaim for his works and to earn enough money to survive, Balzac works like a man possessed, day and night, to the brink of exhaustion, drinking liter upon liter of coffee to keep himself awake. The passionate author also tends to go to excess in affairs of the heart - he has several woman friends at the same time, all of them very different from each other. They include the kind, caring and elderly Madame de Berny, and the egotistical, ambitious Laure d'Abrantès, who introduces Balzac to the salons of upper-class society. Balzac's heart belong to just one person alone, however: Eve Hanska, a married Polish woman living in Russia. At first she and Balzac simply have a passionate exchange of correspondence, but then they meet each other for the first time in Switzerland. On his return to Paris, Balzac is mortified to learn of the death of Madame de Berny. It comes as all the more of a shock to him because she was the only person who loved him as a man, rather than as a literary idol. Balzac then has a series of unlucky experiences in his work too: whatever he tries to do it always turns out to be a naive and unrealistic dream. Even though his new works are being well received socially, and do start to bring him a small income, Balzac's financial situation becomes ever more desperate because of his dissolute and excessive lifestyle. When Eve Hanska's husband dies, Balzac finally wants to fulfill his greatest wish, and marry the woman he has loved for so many years. Eve has a miscarriage and loses their child. Balzac is totally shaken by this event, while Eve is strangely unconcerned. Does she, too, only love him for his artistic reputation? The long-awaited marriage does finally take place in Russia, after years of delay - but Balzac doesn't have long to enjoy marital bliss. He goes blind, and dies a slow and agonizing death just four months later. His friend Victor Hugo is the only person to remain by his side until the very end... Written by Anonymous See less
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Status
Edit Released
Updated Sep 13, 1999

Release date
Oct 23, 2000 (United States)

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Cast

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35 cast members
Name STARmeter Known for
Gérard Depardieu
Honoré de Balzac Honoré de Balzac   See fewer
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Jeanne Moreau
Charlotte-Laure Charlotte-Laure   See fewer
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Fanny Ardant
Eve Hanska Eve Hanska   See fewer
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Virna Lisi
Madame de Berny Madame de Berny   See fewer
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Katja Riemann
Laure d'Abrantès Laure d'Abrantès   See fewer
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Claude Rich
Maitre Plissoud Maitre Plissoud   See fewer
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Gert Voss
Victor Hugo Victor Hugo   See fewer
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Sergio Rubini
Eugene Sue Eugene Sue   See fewer
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François Marthouret
Docteur Nacquart Docteur Nacquart   See fewer
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Marianne Denicourt
Adèle Hugo Adèle Hugo   See fewer
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Gottfried John
Count Hanska Count Hanska   See fewer
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Pascal Vannson
Paradis Paradis   See fewer
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Hervé Briaux
Charles Sedillot Charles Sedillot   See fewer
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Didier Lesour
Surveillant Bossu Surveillant Bossu   See fewer
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Enguerran Demeulenaere
Balzac Enfant Balzac Enfant   See fewer
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Cédric Chevalme
Charretier Charretier   See fewer
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Franck Manzoni
Sergeant de Ville Sergeant de Ville   See fewer
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Jean-François Lapalus
Contremaitre Contremaitre   See fewer
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Yves Penay
Marchand de Café Marchand de Café   See fewer
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Cyril Anrep
Joueur Joueur   See fewer
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Franck de la Personne
Tailleur Buisson Tailleur Buisson   See fewer
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Roland Blanche
Editeur Gosselin Editeur Gosselin   See fewer
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Michel Pilorgé
Editeur Gosselin Editeur Gosselin   See fewer
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Albert Dray
Imprimeur Imprimeur   See fewer
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Stephan Midaven
Ouvrier Imprimerie Ouvrier Imprimerie   See fewer
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Daniel Dadzu
Orfevre (as Dadzu) Orfevre (as Dadzu)   See fewer
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René Smotek
Employe Journal Employe Journal   See fewer
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Sébastien Thiery
Sergent Major Sergent Major   See fewer
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Jacques Seiler
Vieil Officer Vieil Officer   See fewer
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Dominique Besnehard
Editeur Werdet Editeur Werdet   See fewer
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Lucie Volmanova
Anna Hanska Enfant Anna Hanska Enfant   See fewer
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Jean Davy
Actor Actor   See fewer
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Sunnyi Melles
Baronne von Galvenberg Baronne von Galvenberg   See fewer
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Katja Studt
Anna Hanska (uncredited) Anna Hanska (uncredited)   See fewer
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6.7 / 10 | 512 votes