TOUCHED BY GENIUS, CURSED BY MADNESS, BLINDED BY LOVE.
It’s 1871 and Paul Verlaine (David Thewlis), an established poet, invites the young and brilliant Arthur Rimbaud (Leonardo DiCaprio) to live with him and his young pregnant wife, Mathiltde, in her father’s home in Paris. Rimbaud’s wild and eccentric behavior disrupts the household and scandalises Verlaine’s pretentious, bourgois in-laws.
Verlaine, desperate to escape his his staid life, becomes abusive to his wife and is seduced by Rimbaud. A violent, itinerant relationship ensues between the two poets, until Verlaine shoots and wounds Rimbaud in Brussels and is sentenced to prison for sodomy and attempted murder.
In prison, Verlaine converts to Christianity, to his lover’s disgust. Upon release he meets Rimbaud in Germany, vainly and mistakenly seeking to revive the relationship. Bitterly renouncing literature in any form, Rimbaud travels the world alone, finally settling in Abyssinia (modern day Ethiopia) to run a trading post. Rimbaud lives there until a tumor forces him to return to France for treatment. Nevertheless, the cancer spreads and the poet dies at the age of 37.
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