For all his success as court composer at Versailles, the aged Marin Marais (Gérard Depardieu) acknowledges the spiritual emptiness of his music. Lost in memories, he recalls another master of the viola da gamba, Monsieur de Sainte Colombe (Marielle), whose magnificent, melancholy compositions and hermetic life style, away from the tempting glamours of Paris, were inspired by undying love for his late wife. Not a warm man, Sainte Colombe had consented to tutor Marin Marais in his prodigious youth (Guillaume Depardieu), a favour which the pupil repaid by seducing one of Sainte Colombe's daughters (Brochet). Only years later had he taken to heart the real lesson his master had to offer... From its lengthy, opening close-up of Depardieu's face, it's clear that Corneau's 17th century fable will be no ordinary costume drama. The story is slow, stately, and told with minimal dialogue, with Corneau trusting to Yves Angelo's painterly camerawork - and even more importantly, to the lovely baroque music - to give his admirably restrained tale of passion, betrayal and creativity its emotional power. The cast, too, play beautifully.