A Heart in Winter

A Heart in Winter (French: Un cœur en hiver) is a French film which was released in 1992. It stars Emmanuelle Béart, Daniel Auteuil and André Dussollier. It was chosen to compete at the 49th Venice International Film Festival,[2] where it won four awards, including tying for the Silver Lion. It was nominated for Best Foreign Film at the 1994 BAFTA awards.

A Heart in Winter (Un coeur en hiver)
Directed byClaude Sautet
Produced byPhilippe Carcassonne
Written byClaude Sautet
Jacques Fieschi
StarringEmmanuelle Béart
Daniel Auteuil
Music byMaurice Ravel
CinematographyYves Angelo
Edited byJacqueline Thiédot
Distributed byKoch-Lorber Films
Release date
2 September 1992 (France)
June 4, 1993 (USA)
Running time
105 min.
Box office$11.7 million[1]

The romantic drama was the second-to-last film made by French writer/director Claude Sautet. He would work with Béart again on his final feature, 1995's Nelly and Mr. Arnaud (original title Nelly et Monsieur Arnaud).


Highly regarded violin restorer Stéphane (Daniel Auteuil) works and plays squash with his longtime business partner Maxime (André Dussollier). After Maxime, who is married, begins romancing concert violinist Camille (Béart), Stéphane is called in to do some urgent repairs on Camille's violin. Camille begins to fall for Stéphane, and reveals the truth to Maxime. Stéphane's cool reaction causes confusion for Camille, and she lashes out at him for denying his feelings.[3]



The film features a number of performances of chamber music composed by Maurice Ravel, played by Jean-Jacques Kantorow (violin), Howard Shelley (piano) and Keith Harvey (cello). New Zealand musician Jeffrey Grice appears in the film in the role of the pianist.[4]

The film contains only excerpts of Ravel compositions, but the soundtrack album includes them in their entirety, performed by Jean-Jacques Kantorow (violin), Philippe Muller (cello) and Jacques Rouvier (piano). A fourth Ravel composition not excerpted in the film, Berceuse sur le nom de Gabriel Faure, is on the soundtrack album. The film helped further popularise especially Ravel's Piano Trio. The track listing:

  1. Trio Pour Piano, Violon Et Violoncelle
    • i. Premier Mouvement
    • ii. Pantoum
    • iii. Passacaille
    • iv. Final
  2. Sonata Pour Violon Et Violoncelle
    • i. Allegro
    • ii. Très Vif
    • iii. Vif, Avec Entrain
  3. Sonate Pour Violon Et Piano
    • i. Premier Mouvement
    • ii. Blues
    • iii. Perpetuum Mobile
  4. Berceuse Sur Le Nom De Gabriel Fauré

Actor Emmanuelle Béart practised violin for at least a year before the film began shooting, so that she could convincingly mime the performance sequences.

Production notes

Béart and Auteuil were in a real-life relationship and married during the making of this film.

Claude Sautet based it on his memories of reading Russian Mikhail Lermontov's "Princess Mary".

The film is distributed by Koch-Lorber Films.


On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 85% based on reviews from 13 critics.[5]


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