Don’t Touch the Axe a.k.a. The Duchess of Langeais (Ne touchez pas la hache)

  • Dir: Jacques Rivette

  • France/Italy, 2007, 137 mins, 35mm

  • Cast: Jeanne Balibar, Guillaume Depardieu, Bulle Ogier

While this hardly sounds like a title from Balzac, that classic origin underpins a 19th century chamber drama of love (perhaps), gambits and games between the estimable Duchess Antoinette de Langeais (Jeanne Balibar) and the warweary general, Armand de Montriveau (Guillaume Depardieu, Gerard’s oldest son). The film’s stark opening, with the Duchess cloistered away an island convent and the general on the other side of iron bars, frames a complicated duet of temptations and feints, actions and rejections, honor and rewards, that belong both to Rivette and to his beloved Balzac. Beyond his sheer elegance of camera, script and pacing, Rivette brings these elements out through the actors who carry the weight of this mighty yet constrained drama.

2007 Berlin International Film Festival, In Competition

7/1/2018 (SUN): Post-screening talk with William Lau

Package Discount: 30% discount to each purchase of standard tickets of both Don’t Touch the Axe and Around a Small Mountain.

Screening:

Note

1. Unless otherwise stated, all films (except English-speaking films) are subtitled in English.

2. For screenings at ALL commercial cinemas, tickets are available at URBTIX till 5:00pm one day before respective screenings. After that, tickets will be available only at the box office of the screening venue on the day of screening, subject to availability.

3. Screenings at HK Arts Centre, HK Film Archive and Tai Kwun: For screenings that are about to start in 1 hour, all remaining tickets can only be bought at the box offices of the respective screening venues.

4. For the sold-out screenings at HK Arts Centre and HK Film Archive, a limited number of standing tickets are available at the URBTIX Outlets of the respective venues 30 minutes prior to the screening time. Seating is not guaranteed and subject to availability 30 minutes after the screening time. Each person can purchase 1 standing ticket. The availability of standing tickets is subject to change without prior notice.

5. Screenings at HK Science Museum: There is no URBTIX Outlet at the venue. Tickets are available at URBTIX till 1 hour prior to the respective screenings. Door ticket counter opens 30 minutes before the screening. Limited tickets to non-sold out screenings will be available at the door, subject to availability (Cash Only).

6. While it is the HKIFFS’s policy to secure the best possible print of the original version for all its screenings, the HKIFFS will appreciate its patrons’ understanding on occasions when less than perfect screening copies are screened.