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A Feature film by Philippe de Broca

Produced by Partner's Production

Release in France : 23/03/1988

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Actors (30)

Production and distribution (4)

Associate production company :

Partner's Production

Film exports/foreign sales :


Co-production :

Antenne 2

French distribution :


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Box office: Timeline

International releases (4)

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Céline (Sophie Marceau) must choose between Tarquin (Lambert Wilson) and Aurèle (Stéphane Fries) in this historical drama set during the French Civil War of 1793. The Republican Army decimated Western France when an insurgence of peasants, clergy, and aristocrats loyal to the Royalists staged a counterrevolution.

Source :



Adventure films and vibrant comedies were Philippe De Broca's specialty. Here Chouans! is to be pigeonholed in the first category. Set during a climactic moment in French history just after the French Revolution, it deals with two sons of a count (Philippe Noiret) who fight against each other. The first one is a partisan of the freshly new republic (Lambert Wilson) and wants to repel any rebellion against this new political scheme. The second one is on the aristocrats' side. Both also fight for the woman they love (Sophie Marceau). The squire who didn't want to be mingled with the political changes and the social turmoil that spreads in the country will fatally be caught up by the impending turn of events.

If several steps of the story may seem rough to you in their linking, blame it on a butchered editing. The original film clocked in at 4 hours but for evident commercial reasons, it was curtailed of one hour and a half. Hence a rough editing that gives a rather checkered film whose appeal is depleted. It's difficult sometimes to jump from one moment to another without any clear explanation or preparation to it like for instance when Wilson kills Marceau. This sequence comes at the most awkward moment and it's a little hard to swallow it.

But De Broca kept worthwhile elements. Lyricism that shrouds the film can be felt here, there and everywhere. Aesthetically, it's a refined piece of work with a clean cinematography, lavish costumes and lush scenery. Characters are highly well described, notably Philippe Noiret, a lucid, good-hearted earl who has faith in science. His witty cues command admiration. And one can admire the contrast between the high hopes following the birth of the Republic and the ruthless, violent means employed by its leaders, notably Lambert Wilson to suppress any rebellion, mostly from aristocrats.

Without this ill-fated editing, De Broca's piece of work could have taken its place in the restrained circle of the great French epics. It's acceptable stuff all the same but the filmmaker's finest films are chronologically behind him: Cartouche (1962), L'Homme De Rio (1964) or Les Tribulations d'Un Chinois en Chine (1965).

Source : IMDb

Full credits (16)

Executive Producer :

Ariel Zeïtoun

Producers :

Daniel Deschamps, Maurice Illouz, Ariel Zeïtoun

Director of Photography :

Bernard Zitzermann

Press Attaché (film) :

Dominique Segall

Assistant editors :

Monique André, Renée Deschamps

Production Designer :

Tony Egry

Casting :

Shula Siegfried

Still Photographer :

Jean-Pierre Fizet

Assistant Director :

Jean-Claude Ventura

Screenwriters :

Philippe de Broca, Daniel Boulanger, Jérôme Tonnerre

Sound recordists :

Jean-Charles Ruault, Jacques Thomas-Gérard

Editor :

Henri Lanoé

Continuity supervisor :

Carole Fèvre

Music Composer :

Georges Delerue

Sound Mixer :

Joël Beldent

Location managers :

Daniel Chabannes, Yves Dutheil, Olivier Hélie

Technical details

Feature film

Genres :


Sub-genre :

Adventure, Historical, War

Production language :


Original French-language productions :


Nationality :

100% French

Production year :


French release :


Runtime :

2 h 23 min

Current status :


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Approval :


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Posters (1)


Festival Selections

Cesar Awards - French film industry awards - 1989

Cesar Awards - French film industry awards (France, 1989)

Selection (2)

Best Costume Design : Yvonne Sassinot de Nesle

Most Promising Actor : Stéphane Freiss


Cesar Awards - French film industry awards - 1989

Cesar Awards - French film industry awards (France, 1989)


César award for most promising actor : Stéphane Freiss