Beaumarchais L’insolent Review

Beaumarchais L'insolent
An account of the rougish life of the 18th century French playwright Beaumarchais (aka, Pierre Augustin Caron) and how he came to write The Barber of Seville and its sequel The Marriage of Figaro.

by Rob Driscoll |
Published on
Release Date:

06 Sep 1996

Running Time:

100 minutes



Original Title:

Beaumarchais L’insolent

For those unfamiliar with the intricacies of French literature, Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais was the man responsible for bringing the world such stories as The Barber Of Seville and The Marriage Of Figaro. However, as this lavish biopic from La Cage Aux Folles director Molinaro shows, he not only put quill to parchment, he was also a watch-maker, inventor, royal spy, arms dealer, Machiavellian politician and staunch defender of human rights.

Molinaro directs most of the action like a picaresque pantomime, throwing the viewer headlong into the action with outlandish abandon. Kicking off with Beaumarchais (affably played by the laid-back Luchini) rehearsing his actors in The Barber Of Seville, then rushing off to the local court as a part-time judge, interrupted by a hairy swordfight with a miffed duke over their shared mistress.

Sent to London by Louis XV (Serrault) on a secret mission to obtain a compromising document from a transvestite nobleman, he gets involved in gun-running for the American Revolution - only to discover that the rebels are as insolvent as he is insolent. Ultimately, bankruptcy forces him back to the theatre to write The Marriage Of Figaro.

Just as his final play exposed the scheming and hypocrisy of politicians and courtly society, so does Molinaro's movie, and at times the satirical swipings may prove too complex for some.

If you like the trappings of period finery, gorgeous scenery and larger-than-life performances, this could be just your tasse de the.
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