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The Roads of Exile

Long, slow, and probably not to everybody's taste, but a fascinating study of the Swiss philosopher/novelist Jean-Jacques Rousseau, which attempts to elucidate certain aspects of his life and work left obscure in his supposedly completely honest Confessions. Covering the years from Rousseau's exile after the burning of Emile in 1762 to his death in 1778 (years marked by his progressive persecution mania), it also ranges back to privileged earlier moments as he attempts to alleviate his present misery by recapturing or exorcising his past. It's almost a pointilliste film, as quietly undemonstrative as The Lacemaker, alternating between gorgeously idyllic natural landscapes and stark, severe interiors that would not have shamed Vermeer. Rossellini was originally slated to direct, but Goretta has done the subject proud, very much in the master's manner.

Release details

Duration: 165 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Claude Goretta
Screenwriter: George Haldas, Claude Goretta
Cast: François Simon
Dominique Labourier
Roland Bertin
Michel Berto
Gabriel Cattand
Martine Chevallier
Sylvain Clément
William Fox