Valmont. 1989. USA/France. Directed by Miloš Forman. Screenplay by Jean-Claude Carrière, Forman. With Colin Firth, Annette Bening, Meg Tilly. 137 min.
Though Dangerous Liaisons fared better at the box office and during awards season, Valmont was the less misanthropic—and in some ways more modern—of the two rival adaptations of Choderlos de Laclos’s scandalous 18th-century epistolary novel. Miloš Forman and Jean-Claude Carrière found the pathos that underlay the novel’s libertine decadence, its cruel twists of sexual intrigue and false moral posturing, and captured what André Malraux famously described as Laclos’s “eroticization of the human will.”
35mm print courtesy Park Circus