Cézanne et moi

The story of the lifelong friendship between painter Paul Cézanne and writer Emile Zola (Guillaume Canet)

‘With you I never know if I’m dealing with a dog, a cobra or a butterfly,’ the writer Émile Zola (portrayed by Guillaume Canet) says out of frustration and impatience to the Post-Impressionist painter Paul Cézanne (Guillaume Gallienne) in Cézanne et moi.

Poster for the French biographical drama Cézanne et moiThe film, an intimate, searching portrait of the turbulent friendship between the two geniuses directed by Danièle Thompson (Avenue Montaigne), focuses on the insecurity, competitiveness and complicated love lives of these two ambitious men of opposite temperament. And in so doing, it offers a pungent, demystifying portrait of the rowdy late-19th-century Parisian art world where famous painters and poets mingled and jostled for position at dinner parties and art openings filled with shoptalk, backbiting and intrigue. It also makes a point of showing the profound self-doubt that led Cézanne to attack his canvases in fits of rage and Zola to consider destroying his manuscripts. Creativity for both men, who were acutely aware of their diminishing powers as they aged, was more agonizing than ecstatic.

– Stephen Holden, The New York Times


Cézanne et moi explore la relation forte et tumultueuse qui a lié Paul Cézanne (Guillaume Gallienne) et Émile Zola (Guillaume Canet). Une de ces amitiés passionnées qui poussent à partager révoltes, curiosités, filles et rêves de gloire.

Paul et Emile se connaissent depuis l’enfance. À Paris, ils vivent la même bohème, fréquentent les mêmes femmes, crachent sur les bourgeois qui le leur rendent bien… Le temps passe, Paul devient peintre. Émile, écrivain. Mais la gloire ignore longtemps le premier, alors que le second finit par tout obtenir : renommée, argent et amour d’une femme Alexandrine (Alice Pol), que Paul a aimée avant lui. Une écharde dans leur relation. Ils se perdent et s’éloignent sans cesser de s’aimer…

– Maryvonne Ollivry, Télé 2 Semaines

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