A Heart in Winter

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A Heart in Winter (Un coeur en hiver)
A Heart in Winter.jpg
Directed by Claude Sautet
Produced by Philippe Carcassonne
Written by Claude Sautet
Jacques Fieschi
Starring Emmanuelle Béart
Daniel Auteuil
Music by Maurice Ravel
Cinematography Yves Angelo
Edited by Jacqueline Thiédot
Distributed by Koch-Lorber Films
Release dates
2 September 1992 (France)
June 4, 1993 (USA)
Running time
105 min.
Country France
Language French

A Heart in Winter (fr. Un cœur en hiver) is a French film which was released in 1992. It was directed by Claude Sautet, stars Emmanuelle Béart, Daniel Auteuil and André Dussollier, and is distributed by Koch-Lorber Films. It entered the competition at the 49th Venice International Film Festival.[1]


The film is set in contemporary Paris and centres on three characters: Maxime (Dussollier), Stéphane (Auteuil) and Camille (Béart), caught in a love triangle. A violinist of rising fame, Camille begins a casual relationship with Maxime, who owns a workshop that manufactures and repairs violins. When Camille arrives at the workshop to have her violin repaired, she is instantly attracted to the enigmatic and introverted Stephane, Maxime's partner and friend, who appears to feel an attraction for her but is incapable of expressing any emotion. Convinced that she can break his cold exterior, Camille becomes obsessed and leaves Maxime for Stéphane. She is devastated when he denies all feeling for her, and the friendship between Maxime and Stéphane is also destroyed as a result.



An important part of the film is the use of chamber music by Maurice Ravel, played by Jean-Jacques Kantorow (violin), Howard Shelley (piano) and Keith Harveyr (cello). New Zealand musician Jeffrey Grice appears in the film in the role of the pianist.[2]

The film contains only excerpts of Ravel compositions, but the soundtrack album includes them in their entirety, performed by Jean-Jacques Kantorow (violin), Philippe Muller (cello) and Jacques Rouvier (piano). A fourth Ravel composition not excerpted in the film, Berceuse sur le nom de Gabriel Faure, is on the soundtrack album. The film helped further popularise especially Ravel's Piano Trio.

Production notes[edit]

Béart and Auteuil were in a relationship during the making of this film.

Lermontov Reference[edit]

Sautet's film was said to be based on "his memories of" A Hero of Our Time - an 1839 Russian novel by Mikhail Lermontov. The relationship with Lermontov's work is quite loose - the novel was set in the Caucasus of the time of writing and with an opposite gender orientation, its protagonist Pechorin being a man vacillating between two women and in the end losing both. However, Lermontov's work became well-known and its protagonist an archetype of the Byronic hero (or anti-hero). In effect, the comparison makes Camille into a female equivalent.


  1. ^ "Venezia, Libertà Per Gli Autori". La Repubblica. July 31, 1992. Retrieved 29 April 2014. 
  2. ^ "Jeffrey Grice-Composer". Composition Today. Retrieved November 22, 2010. 

External links[edit]