Although writer-director Patrice Leconte’s romantic period drama A Promise played at both the Venice and Toronto film festivals, the French filmmaker’s English-language debut has yet to land a U.S. release date (though it will premiere in France this coming April). Inspired by Stefan Zweig’s novel “Journey into the Past” and set in 1912 Germany, the film centers a love triangle between an ailing factory owner (Alan Rickman), his young bride (Rebecca Hall), and his protégé, played by Game of Thrones star Richard Madden. We premiered an exclusive clip from the film a few months back, but the first trailer is now available. Hit the jump to check it out.
Here’s a synopsis for A Promise:
Set in pre-First World War Germany, Patrice Leconte’s venture into English-language filmmaking chronicles the simmering love triangle between an ailing factory owner (Alan Rickman), his young bride (Rebecca Hall) and his protégé (Richard Madden).
Stefan Zweig’s novel Journey into the Past, set in pre-First World War Germany, provides the inspiration for Patrice Leconte’s venture into English-language production. Employing his by-now familiar style, Leconte, a master of the unexpected, finds a simmering romance within the pages of Zweig’s book, and uses its slow heat to powerful effect. ButA Promise is no bodice-ripper. It is an elegantly directed, keenly modulated love story.
Hoffmeister (Alan Rickman) is an ailing factory owner, whiskered and respectable. As his energies flag, he looks to a sharp young man in his employ for help. Ludwig (Richard Madden) impresses Hoffmeister with his reliability and youthful spirit, and the older man finds himself leaning more and more on this promising up-and-comer. At the same time, Hoffmeister’s young bride (Rebecca Hall) is looking for a tutor for their child, and Ludwig proves both flexible and willing. When he moves into their home, an emotional triangle develops. Societal dignity and decorum must be respected, and it is. Nevertheless, heated passions come into play, while Hoffmeister looks on.
Unravelling over many years, this tale extends well beyond its set-up, and Leconte moves us through the emotional maze, making us aware of the complexities of feeling amongst all of the players. Beautifully supported by three fine actors, A Promise delivers on its premise. Love can take many forms before it either blooms or fades. Beneath those starched shirts and lacy blouses, feelings of respect and care rub up against those of lust and desire.