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The Duchess of Langeais / Don't Touch the Axe

The Duchess of Langeais / Don't Touch the Axe

A Feature film by Jacques Rivette

Produced by Pierre Grise Productions

Release in France : 28/03/2007

  • Contents

Actors (18)

Production and distribution (5)

Executive Producer :

Pierre Grise Productions

Foreign production company :


French distribution :

Les Films du Losange

Co-production :

Arte France Cinéma

Film exports/foreign sales :

Les Films du Losange

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Box office: Timeline

International releases (10)

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Armand de Montriveau, a French general, arrives on a Spanish island during the French expedition to re-establish Ferdinand VII’s authority. For five years he’s been searching for a woman, who disappeared without a trace and with whom he was hopelessly in love, in all the convents of Europe and America. In the monastery on the island he discovers that Sister Thérèse is the woman he’s been searching for. He obtains the authorization to see her in the Mother Superior’s presence.
Five years earlier…
The story takes place during the Restoration, a period when the dominant values are hypocrisy, the importance of appearances, and avarice. Antoinette de Navarreins, a Parisian coquette and wife of Duke de Langeais, is a product of the epoch.
Right from their first encounter, General Armand de Montriveau falls hopelessly in love with her and devotes himself to worshipping her, encouraged by the duchess. Flattered to be desired to such a degree, she employs all the fashionable wiles to toy with his affections, and amuses herself by seducing him, but won’t let him become her lover. What greater proof of love is there than to love without giving oneself to the other!
Montriveau tries in vain to obtain irrefutable proof of love, but Antoinette hypocritically rebuffs him on religious grounds. During a ball, while pointing at her neck, Montriveau tells Antoinette of his most striking memory of his time in Westiminster. “Don’t touch the axe” were the words said by the guard, showing him the axe that had been used to cut of Charles the First’s head. Understanding that the duchess is playing games and will never give in, Montriveau decides to ignore his beloved and to take revenge.

Photos (6)

Full credits (13)

Executive Producers :

Martine Marignac, Maurice Tinchant

Author of original work :

Honoré de Balzac

Sound Recordist :

Florian Eidenbenz

Press Attaché (film) :

Marie-Christine Damiens

Sound Editor :

Dominique Vieillard

Production Designer :

Emmanuel de Chauvigny

Sound Mixer :

Bernard Le Roux

Assistant director :

Shirel Amitay

Director of Photography :

William Lubtchansky

Production Manager :

Christian Lambert

Editor :

Nicole Lubtchansky

Continuity supervisor :

Lydia Bigard

Costume designer :

Maïra Ramedhan-Levi

Technical details

Feature film

Genres :


Production language :


Coproducer countries :

France, Italy

Original French-language productions :


Nationality :

Majority French (France, Italy)

Production year :


French release :


Runtime :

2 h 17 min

Current status :


Visa number :


Visa issue date :


Approval :


Production formats :


Color type :


Aspect ratio :


Audio format :

Dolby SR

Posters (6)


News (8)

Festival Selections (13)

French Film Festival in the Czech Republic - 2007

French Film Festival in the Czech Republic (Czech Republic, 2007)


Films selected

Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival - 2007

Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival (Brazil, 2007)


Panorama of World Cinema

TIFF - 2007

TIFF (Canada, 2007)



Berlin International Film Festival - 2007

Berlin International Film Festival (Germany, 2007)


Official Competition

Delegations (3)

Presskit (2)