The year is 1897. Julien, age 25, is hired by an aristocratic couple to tutor their 12 year old son, Morgan. The boy is wild but very gifted. Julien soon realizes that his employers lead a gimcrack life dedicated to keeping up appearances, but are actually penniless. He is swept along in their footloose, turbulent lifestyle as they decamp from place to place like gypsies. Slowly the masks come down and Julien sees the real reason why this tribe took him in: the parents are hoping he’ll rid them of Morgan.
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"This story about a guileless private tutor fascinated by his student takes us gliding along the invisible wall between the world of children and that of adults, which only a few individuals touched by special grace can cross. Henry James’s novel, with its meaning that constantly escapes upwards under the apparent drift of the writing, subtly and secretly imposed its rules on us. The main part of our work was to find a balance between outward show and inner feelings, to preserve the film’s dynamism without losing its content. But over and above technique, we, the entire cast and crew, gave ourselves up to the sheer pleasure of interpreting this score in the hope of sharing with others a rare and fragile emotion that exists beyond the bounds of time and fashion."
(Olivier Schatzky )