Tous les Matins du Monde

Tous les matins du monde

Film poster
Directed by Alain Corneau
Produced by Jean-Louis Livi
Written by Pascal Quignard
Alain Corneau
Music by Jordi Savall
Marin Marais
Cinematography Yves Angelo
Edited by Marie-Josephe Yoyotte
Distributed by Koch-Lorber Films (1992)
Release dates
  • 18 December 1991 (1991-12-18)
Running time
115 minutes
Country France
Language French
Box office $3,089,497
Marin Marais (1656-1728) – Sonnerie de Sainte-Geneviève du Mont de Paris "The Bells of St. Genevieve" from La Gamme et Autres Morceaux de Symphonie (1723)
Performed by New Comma Baroque (Performed by Jordi Savall in the Film)

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Tous les matins du monde (English translation: All the Mornings of the World) is a 1991 French film based on the book of the same name.[1] Set during the reign of Louis XIV, the film shows the eminent musician Marin Marais looking back on his young life when he tried to become a pupil of Monsieur de Sainte-Colombe,[1] and features much music of the period, especially that for the viola da gamba.[2] The title of the film is explained towards the end of the film; « Tous les matins du monde sont sans retour » ("all the mornings of the world never return") spoken by Marais in chapter XXVI of Quignard's novel when he learns of the death of Madeleine.


In the same year as the book's release, Pascal Quignard, together with director Alain Corneau, adapted the novel to the film that starred Jean-Pierre Marielle, Gérard Depardieu, Anne Brochet, and Guillaume Depardieu. The film is currently distributed by Koch-Lorber Films.

The film revolves around the late-17th / early-18th-century composer Marin Marais' life as a musician, his mentor Monsieur de Sainte-Colombe, and Sainte-Colombe's daughters. The aging Marais, played by Gérard Depardieu, narrates the story, while Depardieu's son Guillaume Depardieu plays the young Marais. The haunting sound of his instrument, the viol (viola da gamba), here played by Jordi Savall, is heard throughout the movie and plays a major role in setting the mood. Though fictional, the story is based on historical characters, and what little is known about their lives is generally accurately portrayed.[3]

The film credits the scenes set in the salon of Louis XV as filmed in the golden gallery of the Banque de France.

Described as a "crossover movie" with the music integrated into the story-line, Derek Malcolm saw Marielle's performance as "matching the music note for note".[2]


Ageing court composer Marin Marais recalls his former master and un-equalled viol player, the jansenist Monsieur de Sainte Colombe. Sainte Colombe buried himself in his music after the death of his wife bringing up his two daughters on his own, and teaching them to be musicians, and playing in a consort with them for local noble audiences. His reputation reaching the court of Louis XIV, the king sent an envoy, Caignet, to request him to play at court. But Sainte Colombe sent the envoy away as well as the abbé Mathieu, and shut himself away in a cabin in his garden in order to perfect the art of viol playing.

After some years, a 17-year-old man, Marin Marais, visits him to request that he be taught by the older master, who however sees no merit in the playing of the young man and sends him packing. The elder daughter, Madeleine is saddened as she has fallen in love with Marais, and helps him to secretly listen to her father playing.

She becomes pregnant, but the child is still-born, and she falls gravely ill. She is abandoned by Marais, who on the death of Caignet has assumed a position as a court musician. Sainte Colombe calls him to his house, as the ailing Madeleine wants to hear her lover play a piece he wrote for her "La rêveuse". When Marais leaves hurriedly Madeleine hangs herself. The old Marais realises his faults and vanity, while Sainte Colombe recognises finally his musicianship.



As listed in the film's credits, the music heard includes the following:

Apart from Savall, the musicians are Monserrat Figueras and Mari-Cristina Kiehr (sopranos), Christophe Coin and Jérôme Hantaï (viola da gamba), Rolf Lislevand (theorbo) and Pierre Hantaï (harpsichord and organ).

Awards and nominations


  1. 1 2 British Film Institute page about Tous les Matins du Monde accessed 10 April 2014.
  2. 1 2 Malcolm, Derek. Viol Bodies. Film of the week: Tous les Matins de Monde. The Guardian, 30 December 1992.
  3. Medieval Music & Arts Foundation - Tous les matins du monde : The Historical Evidence accessed 10 April 2014.
  4. "Berlinale: 1992 Programme". Retrieved 2011-05-24.
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