This is the story of the passionate love affair between George Sand and Alfred de Musset. Both were famous writers when they met, neither of them believed in love any longer. Yet they were to have a heartbreaking affair that haunted them for the rest of their lives. Like Hugo, Balzac and Delacroix, Musset grew up on the ruins of Napoleon's Empire. Like all children of his century, he experienced a lasting malaise. Neither gambling nor debauchery could save the 23-year-old poet from the abyss. Sand was an independent, free-spirited young woman who smoked a pipe and dressed as a man. Yet she was also vulnerable, gnawed by doubt, and disappointed by life. She decided to become a journalist and a writer. These things simultaneously pushed them apart and drew them together. Against all odds, they fell in love, mutually dazzling one another. They joined their creative genius and talent, exchanging ideas and projects. But their affair outraged families, friends and the Paris salons where reputations were made and unmade. So they fled to Venice in search of an unrealistic happiness, embarking on a tumultuous adventure typical of the Romantic 19th century, which their lives exemplify.
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In his autobiographical work, The Confession of a Child of the Century, Alfred de Musset presents himself as a world-weary cynic who meets a woman and subsequently idealises her. He falls in love with her. She resists this love. He does all he can to seduce her but when she comes to love him in turn he sees this as weakness. Once again, he becomes cynical, jealous, possessive and cruel, unable to prevent himself from shattering their happiness. When I first read the book, I didn’t know that the woman in question was George Sand. Only later did I find out that there was another version of the same story, written by Sand after Musset’s death: Elle et lui. I then discovered that their affair had been a continual source of controversy, both in their day and after their deaths. Critics, scholars and descendants all staunchly defended their own version of the story… Why did the affair cause such debate? I wanted to pierce the mystery. I was fascinated by the modernity of the tale and wanted to restore its initial power by expressing the two lovers’ views, bringing them together at last in a single approach, in a single film.
Diane Kurys – Director, taken from press kit