So leave it to Volker Schlöndorff (The Tin Drum) to adapt Swann in Love, a continuation of part one (Swann's Way) of Marcel Proust's Remembrance of Things Past, series of seven volumes that span some 3,000 pages. (I'm hardly a Proust expert, so if I've got the exact ID of the original text wrong, forgive me.)
Swann in Love probably ranks among Proust's more accessible works, as the story is fairly straightforward: Swann (Jeremy Irons) pines for a hooker (Ornella Muti), and though he's an 1890s French aristocrat and she's, you know, a hooker, he expends every bit of energy he has to land her. Between sexual interludes and parlor room angst, not much happens aside from Swann slowly losing credibility in social circles, until we get to the surprise ending, which is either worth the trip or complete unbelievable, depending on your point of view.
Dramas about manners and ostracism in society have been done before and with more punch (check out Dangerous Liaisons or Ridicule, which like Swann also features Fanny Ardant). Swann in Love flirts with greatness from time to time, but it's much too stuffy for such a scandalous subject. And next time, give us Jeremy Irons in English.
Aka Un amour de Swann.
Run time: 110 mins
In Theaters: Thursday 23rd February 1984
Distributed by: Media Home Entertainment
Production compaines: Bioskop Film, Gaumont, S.F.P.C.
Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5
IMDB: 6.4 / 10
Director: Volker Schlöndorff
Starring: Jeremy Irons as Charles Swann, Ornella Muti as Odette de Crecy, Alain Delon as Baron de Charlus, Fanny Ardant as Duchesse de Guermantes, Marie-Christine Barrault as Madame Verdurin, Anne Bennent as Chloe