September 1871. The Paris Commune ended three months earlier in a blood-bath. The Prussian army occupies part of France. Thiers is President. On the platform of a small station in the Ardennes, a young man aged seventeen waits for the Paris train. His sole calling card is a poem, "Le bateau ivre". His name : Arthur Rimbaud. On the platform at Paris's Gare de l'Est, a young man waits for him. He looks like an office clerk. In fact, that's what he is. But, in addition, he is one of the most brilliant representatives of a new literary movement : the Parnassians. He is the author of "Les Fêtes galantes", Paul Verlaine. He is twenty-seven. Verlaine has invited Rimbaud to stay with him. Unfortunately, his home is that of other people, his parents-in-law, the very bourgeois Mauté de Fleurvilles, their daughter Mathilde, his wife, the same age as rimbaud and eight months pregnant. Rimbaud soon behaves badly. He rejects this bourgeois world and its inhabitants. They react towards him in a similar manner. Rimbaud is thrown out. Verlaine finds him a new place to live. He introduces him to the "Circle of unpleasant men", a group of bohemian artists. There too, rimbaud's eccentric behaviour and curses cause a scandal. Only Verlaine continues to follow this "stroller with soles of wind", this "thief of fire" who wants to "change life".
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"Why does a producer decide to tell the story of two "leading lights of the French literary pantheon" ? "
Jean-Pierre Ramsay Levi : "When you look at the catalogue of world cinema and that of Hollywood in particular, you are stunned by the number of adaptations of French literary classics : Dumas, Maupassant, Hugo, Balzac, Zola, etc. (...) I recently read that Bille August is about to shoot an umpteenth version of "Les Misérables" in the Czech Republic with Liam Neeson as Jean Valjean and Robert de Niro as Inspector Javert. Along the same lines, Disney has just released "The Hunchback of Notre-Dame" without a single reference to Hugo. No one takes offence at these adaptations. Why should we, in France, be the only ones to ignore our authors who belong to the world heritage ? (...)" (Taken from the press kit)