The Romance of Astrea and Celadon (12A)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner10/09/2008

Two out of Five stars
Running time: 107 mins

Flatly directed, frequently dull and ultimately disengaging drama that's like watching a badly staged version of an extremely boring play.

What's it all about?
Based on a 17th century novel by Honore d'Urfe, The Romance of Astrea and Celadon is directed by Eric Rohmer (Ma Nuit Chez Maud) and stars Andy Gillet as Celadon, a young shepherd who's deeply in love with the shepherdess Astrea (Stephanie Crayencour), even though his parents don't approve. While posing with a fake girlfriend at his parents' feast, Celadon is unwittingly observed by Astrea, who orders him to stay away from her forever.

Distraught, Celadon jumps into the rushing river and disappears, leading Astrea to believe that he's drowned. However, he's secretly rescued by a bevy of nymphs (don't ask) and his foolish pride won't allow him to disobey Astrea's command to stay away forever, so he sets about building monuments and dressing up as a woman (again, don't ask) in order to win back the grieving Astrea's heart.

The Bad
The Romance of Astrea and Celadon is the kind of story that makes you realise what a genius Shakespeare was. The story is basically a rip-off of Romeo and Juliet with the cross-dressing from Twelfth Night thrown into the mix, only completely lacking in wit, romance and dramatic tension.

Eric Rohmer is known for his overly talky films and his fondness for extended medium shots, but even by his standards, this is extremely dull. Worse still, it's occasionally punctuated with some pretty awful poetry.

The Worst
Admittedly, things do liven up a bit when the nymphs show up (there's the occasional flash of nudity), but Celadon's such a pig-headed character that it's impossible to care about him, so you quickly lose interest in the story. On top of everything else, the climax is both rushed and disappointing, as if Rohmer couldn't be bothered with the film anymore either.

Worth seeing?
In short, The Romance of Astrea and Celadon is a poorly directed, frequently dull and ultimately pointless drama. Watch A Midsummer Night's Dream again instead.

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The Romance of Astrea and Celadon (12A)
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Content updated: 20/10/2017 08:09

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