Lost illusions: in Venice, Xavier Giannoli transcends Balzac

By transposing the masterpiece of The Human Comedy on the screen, the director of “Marguerite” signs a sumptuous and pitiless fresco on upstartism and the press.

What’s new ? Balzac, very honored in this return by French cinema. On September 29, Marc Dugain offers a new adaptation ofEugenie Grandet, with a formidable Olivier Gourmet as a stingy and destructive father. On October 20, Xavier Giannoli drives home the point with Lost illusions, capital masterpiece and cornerstone of The Human Comedy. It is with this abundant film that the director ofOriginally and of The apparition is back in competition at the Mostra. He comes back after Daisy in 2015 and confirms that the period film is not condemned to academicism or mothballs. Here again, the costumes do not weigh tons and Balzac’s novel, transposed by Giannoli, holds up a striking mirror in the present day. The 1820s and 2020s, same struggle.

The die-hard Balzacians will regret that the first part of the novel is sacrificed. Once again, poor David Séchard, the poet friend of Lucien de Rubempré with a pure heart, indebted by his father’s printer,

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