Casanova, Last Love Review – Electrifying Story Driven Performances

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Casanova, Last Love, from Cohen Media Group, presents the story of love, loss, suffering and the harsh abyss that follows the realization that your affection remains unanswered, a foreign concept for one known for his prowess.

The film begins with Casanova, played by Vincent Lindon, an old man, a recluse, telling a story to a young woman, the daughter of a friend who occasionally arrives at his home, as a courtesy to give an old man, peaks of happiness. A long shot reveals the walls are bare, void of life, no pictures, simply emptiness, a mirror of the soul, from someone who has given up on love.

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A tall, tapered candle rests between the two. The dim light provide just enough solitude for our now recluse to tell his story.

He takes us back to a time when his passions consumed him. His lust for life, the pleasures of women, fine dining, and games of chance fed his appetite. He is wealthy and with a single look, a touch of his hand and women were conquered. With little options, women were either wives or prostitutes. There was little room in 18th century London for anything else.

Famous for his affinities for sexual pleasure and gambling and recently exiled from Paris, with joie de vivre in his veins, the enjoyment of life, love, living, he arrives able to continue his conquest in England. Living in a new city completely foreign to him, Casanova meets the beautiful young prostitute, Marianne de Charpillon, played Stacy Martin.

He becomes enamored with her to the point where he loses interest in all other women. The legendary lover is willing to do anything to seduce her, but Charpillon has other plans and refutes his advances. With her challenges to Casanova: "You will only have me if you stop desiring me!", he must adopt a new philosophy to achieve the love he so desires.

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Once we are entrenched in their world, we see he is completely conquered when he is denied immediate. This love overtakes him, he loses himself, and fails to protect himself from situations that are clearly beneath him. Love, however, sees no boundaries, hears melodies oblivious to the those around him, and motivates him into behaviors he would have never considered.

Once we return to the present, we see the candle three-quarter gone, with only a short time in front of him. His life is now consumed with memories of his past passion, not those whom he disregarded, the one who refused him, who wanted him to see her differently, to respect her. We understand, for Casanova, the connoisseur of finer things and the conqueror of hearts, the film exposes his lifelong secret that Charpillon was the one true love of his life.

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The story of Casanova, Last Love, is engaging as we see there are two types of relationships, those which we control and those which control us. For Casanova, he lived in the later, until he stumbled upon Charpillon and could never return to his former self.

Set in 18th century, the cast are convincing in their portrayals. The constraints of garments are juxtaposed against the abandonment into indulgences and sexual pleasure.

Vincent Lindon and Stacy Martin are electrifying in their performances.

Casanova, Last Love, is screening in select cities in limited engagements. Check local listings.

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Country: France.

Language: French with English subtitles.

Runtime: 98minutes.

Director: Benoît Jacquot. 

Screenplay: Chantal Thomas, Jérôme Beaujour and Benoît Jacquot.

Cast: Vincent Lindon, Stacy Martin, and Valeria Golino.

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