Total Eclipse

November 3rd, 1995


Total Eclipse

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Still of Leonardo DiCaprio in Total EclipseStill of Leonardo DiCaprio in Total EclipseStill of David Thewlis and Romane Bohringer in Total EclipseStill of Leonardo DiCaprio in Total EclipseStill of David Thewlis in Total EclipseStill of Leonardo DiCaprio and David Thewlis in Total Eclipse

The self-destructive relationship between 19th-century teenage French poet Arthur Rimbaud and his older mentor Paul Verlaine.

Release Year: 1995

Rating: 6.3/10 (5,617 voted)

Director: Agnieszka Holland

Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, David Thewlis, Romane Bohringer

In 1871, Paul Verlaine (1844-1896), an established poet, invites boy genius Arthur Rimbaud (1854-1891) to live with Paul and his young pregnant wife, Mathiltde, in her father's home in Paris. Rimbaud's uncouth behavior disrupts the household as well as the insular society of French poets, but Verlaine finds the youth invigorating. Stewed in absinthe and resentment, Verlaine abuses Mathiltde; he and Rimbaud become lovers and abandon her. There are reconciliations and partings with Mathiltde and partings and reconciliations with Rimbaud, until an 1873 incident with a pistol sends one of them to prison. Codas dramatize the poets' final meeting and last illnesses.

Leonardo DiCaprio - Arthur Rimbaud
David Thewlis - Paul Verlaine
Romane Bohringer - Mathilde Maute
Dominique Blanc - Isabelle Rimbaud
Felicie Pasotti Cabarbaye - Isabelle, as a child
Nita Klein - Rimbaud's Mother
James Thiérrée - Frederic
Emmanuelle Oppo - Vitalie
Denise Chalem - Mrs. Maute De Fleurville
Andrzej Seweryn - Mr. Maute De Fleurville
Christopher Thompson - Carjat
Bruce Van Barthold - Aicard
Christopher Chaplin - Charles Cros
Christopher Hampton - The Judge
Mathias Jung - Andre

Taglines: Impassioned by genius. Inflamed by desire. Imprisoned by love.


Official Website: Fine Line Features |

Release Date: 3 November 1995

Filming Locations: Antwerp, Flanders, Belgium

Gross: $339,889 (USA)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

River Phoenix was originally attached to the project, but the part of Rimabud went to Leonardo DiCaprio after Phoenix's death.

Anachronisms: In the Café Andre where the adult Isabelle Rimbaud meets with Paul Verlaine, the typeface on the window is clearly in Helvetica, a typeface that was not created until 1954.

[first lines]
Paul Verlaine: Sometimes he speaks in a kind of tender dialect of the death which causes repentence, of the unhappy men who certainly exist, of painful tasks and heartrending departures. In the hovels where we got drunk he wept looking at those who surrounded us, the cattle of poverty...

User Review

"I'm always chasing Rimbauds"


It's a good thing not too many people saw this film when it came out [no pun intended], because, if any of DiCaprio's female fans had seen him in this, one of his best early roles, his career would have been over well before he was involved in "Titanic." And that's because he's so utterly convincing as the tortured, bisexual teen genius poet Arthur Rimbaud, that it would undoubtedly set many of those young ladies to wondering if he'd played the part a little TOO well, if you get my meaning. If ever there was any such thing as a male femme fatale, It's Leo right here. Rumor has it that he tried to have the video pulled a few years ago, right after his "Titanic" success. It's a good thing he wasn't successful, because I think that this film rates right along with "The Basketball Diaries" as possibly his best performance.

But it takes two to tango, at least in this case, and David Thewlis is almost as good opposite DiCaprio as Paul Verlaine, who began as Rimbaud's mentor and wound up as his long-time lover. As Verlaine was ugly and overweight, whereas Rimbaud was lithe and handsome, the two seemingly would have made an unbelieveably odd couple physically, but were drawn together more by their mutual likes and dislikes rather than physical attraction. And that's what you sense through all of their scenes together, a meeting of minds more than a meeting of bodies.

There were many who praised this movie, there were many who hated it, but love it or hate it, it holds a strange fascination which makes you remember it long after you've seen it.


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