Cinematographer Yves Angelo marks an auspicious directorial debut with this thoughtful, strongly cast adaptation of a tall tale by Balzac. Depardieu plays a man who's lost everything and left to wonder what life still has to offer: a dishevelled wreck, he wanders into the offices of lawyer Derville (Luchini) to unfold the incredible story of how he was left for dead in the Napoleonic campaigns; how he wandered across Europe for ten years before returning home; how his 'widow' (Ardant) is now a countess after her remarriage to Count Ferraud (Dussollier) - leaving Chabert no option but to reclaim his name and property through the processes of the law. Crackpot or victim of capricious fate? Conniving charlatan or visionary man of principle? It's to Depardieu's immense credit that his grandiloquent Chabert may be all, or any, of these things. Well worth investigating.
Cast and crew
Jean Cosmos, Jean-Louis Livi, Yves Angelo