Quiet, remote, and seemingly self-contained, Stephane (Auteuil) is a gifted violin technician who's especially sensitive to the needs of his elite musician clients. He also listens patiently to his slightly older business partner, Maxime (Dussollier), a handsome rake who has left his wife of many years for beautiful, rising young violinist Camille (Béart). But enmity and heartbreak rear their ugly heads as Camille finds herself increasingly drawn to the emotionally reserved Stephane.
Why we love it
Sautet’s “A Heart in Winter” – an intense, beautifully acted drama about a mystifyingly frigid man and the menage à trois he finds himself embroiled in – is brimming over with the sort of nuanced romantic intrigue the French have a particular gift for. Beart is smart and seductive as Camille (her authentic renditions of Ravel are the result of a year’s training), but it’s Auteuil’s restrained performance as her baffling, obscure object of desire that lends the film its chilly “je ne sais quoi.” Give “Winter” a little time to thaw, and you’ll be amply rewarded.