A lush, baroque adaptation of Jean Racine's 1670 tragedy about a Roman emperor who bends to popular will and declines to marry the Palestinian queen he loves.
The continuing demand for high standards is what sets Rouseau's work apart. What makes this film distinctive is the way Rousseau explicitly returns to the source of his creative inspiration. So here he is at home reciting «Bérénice» to himself, whilst going about his household chores. It verges on the comical: There are repeated shots of him obstinately trying to turn off a dripping tap, or the jubilant close up of bare feet carried away in performing a dance step or two. Combining art with life in such a way, that nothing is compartmentalised, nothing lost - that is the goal.
An adaptation of Jean Racine's tragedy which depicts the thwarted loves of Antiochus, Titus (the future emperor of Rome) and Berenice (the queen of Palestine).