Le Libertin

There's little doubt that the life and experiences of Denis Diderot - writer and co-ordinator of the mid-18th century Encyclopédie, a milestone publication which offered a rallying point for Enlightenment ideas - would make a fascinating movie. Not this one, regrettably. With so much juicy potential to play with, we're offered an all-star romp, with the occasional thudding epigram jostling for attention among the double entendres, shagging jokes and gratuitous nudity. A baronial country chateau provides the location for the sundry fun and frolics, with the chapel crypt hiding the illicit presses of the Encyclopédie, which both the hosts and Diderot himself (Perez) are keen to keep from the prying eyes of the local police and Serrault's visiting Cardinal. While the lady of the house (Balasko) distracts the prelate's attention with a series of deeply unfunny ruses, Diderot struggles over his latest entry on 'Moralité', thanks in no small part to the allure of fellow house guest Mme Therbouche (Ardant) and the strain it puts on his already faithless marriage. And so it plods wearily on with the sort of single-track 'fnarr-fnarr' puerility you hoped had gone out of fashion with the 'Carry On' series.

Release details

Duration: 102 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Gabriel Aghion
Screenwriter: Gabriel Aghion, Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt
Cast: Vincent Perez
Fanny Ardant
Josiane Balasko
Michel Serrault
Arielle Dombasle
Christian Charmetant
Françoise Lépine
François Lalande
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