The desire to create art out of the lives of musicians is one that is likely to never go away. In recent years we have gotten a number of explorations of modern icons in films such as Bohemian Rhapsody and Rocketman. Back in the 50s, the trend was just as strong with films such as The Great Caruso winning over audiences around the world. One of the greatest films of all time, Amadeus, appropriately explores the life of one of the world’s greatest musicians, Mozart. It is this film that most closely resembles the 1991 French film Tous Les Matins Du Monde (All The Mornings Of The World), based on the book of the same name by Pascal Quignard. While the film does not follow a figure with the household recognition of Mozart, the narrative does explore a fictionalized version of the lives of Marin Marais and his mentor Monsieur de Sainte-Colombe. While the name may not instantly register with you, the film was a huge success in its native France before winning seven César Awards (aka the French Oscars) including Best Film. This film is a cultural triumph that deserves your attention.
The film commences with the internationally recognized Gérard Depardieu portraying the aged Marin Marais as he holds court with a number of musicians. While Amadeus begins in a place of bitter reflection, All The Mornings Of The World takes a more poignant approach of embracing the past like a gentle friend. Set during the reign of Louis XIV in the late-17th/early-18th-century, Marais recounts the life of his unparalleled mentor Monsieur de Sainte-Colombe (Jean-Pierre Marielle). The master viol player has lost the love of his life and has been left with two daughters. Not knowing how to be a proper father, he buries himself in his music and brings his eldest daughter into the fold by teaching her what he knows, much to the chagrin of his youngest daughter who equally desires to learn. The family plays locally and word quickly spreads of their talent, but when the king requests him to play at court, he fervently denies the request – an act which impacts his ability to play further concerts in the future.
Marielle delivers a consistently awe-inspiring performance throughout as this genius with strict ideas who is nursing the pain of his lost love. The film delves into themes of how artists channel their emotions into their work to create something of staggering beauty. Sainte-Colombe hides himself away and speaks with the ghost of his dead wife, creating art that would be among the greatest ever heard while refusing to share it with anyone. The final piece of the story clicks into place with the arrival of the young Marais, played by Depardieu’s son Guillaume Depardieu. Marais is desperate to learn at the feet of the master, but he refuses to teach him citing lack of inherent talent. Thankfully for Marais, the eldest daughter Madeleine (Anne Brochet) is quite enamored with the young musician and works to help him learn what he needs while falling into a tragic romance with him. The complex family dynamics feed into a path filled with moments of great beauty and devastating loss.
Ultimately, the film is less about the specific music that is created and more about how a person gets to a place which allows them to create such music. Both of the central men in this story are filled with regret in one way or another. They are in possession of some of the greatest talent the world has ever known, yet they are still not content with what they have in their lives – nor are they particularly worthy of it. Despite their general shortcomings as individuals, these two creative figures are two halves of a whole when it comes to finding some form of emotional redemption along their paths. The climax of the film is a swirling of emotions that hit hard in the midst of their quiet intensity. Director Alain Corneau does an outstanding job of crafting this film into a lean narrative that is comfortable in its own skin. It is fair to say this is a deliberately paced film, but the music that proves to be such a transcendent experience is often used to convey what words could never equal through traditional dialogue. All The Mornings Of The World beautifully tells a story that strikes you right in the heart as performed by an ensemble that are simply beyond reproach.
Tous Les Matins Du Monde comes to Blu-Ray with a new digital AVC encoded 1080p transfer in its original OAR from a master of an unknown source. The presentation is nothing short of excellent with a stunning appearance throughout the runtime. There does not appear to be much of anything in the way of print damage, and overall clarity and detail is mighty impressive. This is a film with lush production design with detailed elements both in the houses and in nature that are easily noticeable for the first time thanks to this transfer. Colors are well saturated in a visually splendid way with a push to the cooler side of the spectrum prevalent for most of the duration. Skin tones are natural and consistent with subtle facial features easily noticeable in closeup. Black levels hold up well with very little in the way of crush. Digital noise does not present as a major issue here. This new presentation will be considered a revelation to fans of the feature. Kino Classics has released a standout Blu-Ray for this one.
The Blu-Ray disc comes with both a DTS-HD 5.1 and 2.0 Master Audio track in the original French with optional English subtitles. For a film about the emotional resonance of music, it is a relief to hear these elements sounding so full of life radiating out of every channel. The lovely score sounds great throughout the duration of the film, as it settles you into the mood of the story. There are never moments where it threatens to overwhelm the dialogue, as the track maintains a good balance so that dialogue comes through clearly. Environmental sounds such as weather effects are rendered well alongside everything else. There does not seem to be any majorly noticeable instances of age-related wear and tear. Kino Classics has given this film the perfectly preserved, faithful audio presentation it so richly deserves.
- Audio Commentary: Film Historian Samm Deighan provides a very engaging and informative commentary track in which she discusses the creative team behind the film, the international acclaim of the feature, the look of the film, the themes within the narrative, cinematic connections to the feature and much more. Not only will you learn a lot about this film, you will film like you have learned about French cinema in general.
- Interviews with Alain Corneau, Jordi Savall, Jean-Pierre Marielle, and Yves Angelo: A 54-minute collection of interviews are provided here in which the creative figures behind the film discuss the development, production and release of the film in great detail. There are many fascinating anecdotes and insights within this piece.
- Making-Of Featurette: A vintage 10-minute piece which briefly details some of the behind-the-scenes elements of the production with narration to give context to the footage. It is fun to see some of the performers being lighthearted on set.
- Trailers: The two minute trailer for Tous Les Matins Du Monde is provided here with burned-in subtitles. There are also trailers provided for Ponette and Under the Sand.
Tous Les Matins Du Monde is a film that does not require you to know anything about the real-life inspirations for the story to appreciate the beauty contained within. The power of music is shown consistently throughout this deliberately paced feature. The performances by the ensemble are simply wonderful as everyone brings something unique to their characters. Kino Classics has delivered a Blu-Ray with a top notch A/V presentation and solid selection of supplemental features. If you like an impeccably made musical journey in the mold of something such as Amadeus, be sure to check this one out. Recommended
Tous Les Matins Du Monde will be available to purchase on Blu-Ray and DVD on June 15, 2021.
Note: Images presented in this review are not reflective of the image quality of the Blu-Ray.
Disclaimer: Kino Classics has supplied a copy of this disc free of charge for review purposes. All opinions in this review are the honest reactions of the author.
Dillon is most comfortable sitting around in a theatre all day watching both big budget and independent movies.