|Index||3 reviews in total|
Some films achieve the inexplicable "art" status by being beautiful,
true, as well as emotionally touching, independently of the actors,
plot or cinematography. It's as if the film rose from its "material
support" so to speak, and you could really see the film as close to how
the artist intended it to be. This is one of those rare cases.
We all know the story, but in this case Huppert and the director Bolognini make this stand out from the rest. You will probably have strong feelings for Alphonsine, who plays with the bad cards life has given to her, from her pimp father to her ill health. IMDb reviewer Gerald A. DeLuca is right that there is a sort of "didactic" hammering on our main character spitting blood. Quibbles aside, this superb film is just perfect.
Psychoanalytically it also has interesting things to say, like Plessis treating her daughter like yet another man/ suitor at times, or when she goes to live to the rich man's palace, she is given his MOTHER's room (not his own).
Cinematography does help, as does montage (the scene with Alphonsine in ecstasy followed by the slaughterhouse where she drinks blood, for instance). Of course the classical score, based on Verdi's Traviata but also drawing from other sources, heightens the story. All the male characters become supporting ones compared to Huppert, but of course they are excellent. G. M. Volonté in particular. Wait and see.
Don't miss this film! Utterly enjoyable XIX century melodrama!
La storia vera della signora delle camelie or the "real" story of La
Dame aux Camélias is also based on the novel by Alexandre Dumas fils.
The tragic love story of a poor writer who falls in love with a
courtesan. Only Marie Duplessis is now called 'Alphonsine' instead of
Camille (Greta Garbo film), Violetta (opera) or Marguerite
The settings are raw in the beginning and beautiful splendor in the end. It's a consistent view of a woman who wants to get a better life. The conversations aren't romantic and some scenes actually show you what a 'courtesan' does for a living. Something the other versions don't.
Isabelle Huppert as Alphonsine looks meek, even subdue and bored but what fascinated me about her acting was the passion that's there ... somewhere. She depicts a person who at first takes this profession as a way to survive and then later on takes delight in the power she has over men and the money she earns with it. Yes, she's ill and it's shown frequently, trying to get a sympathy vote. What remains tragic is the fact that she can't hold on to her life, both profession as -Life-.
It's my favorite film version of La Dame aux Camélias. The 8 rate is due Huppert's performance. The slowness in the movie and my dislike of the actors was the reason for the original 7 rate and the only reason I don't rate it a 9 because I watched it a couple of times.
Mauro Bolognini's THE LADY OF THE CAMELLIAS is a French-Italian co-production. It gives us the "true" demystified story of one of French literature's most famous courtesans and who was the basis of many later variations including Verdi's Violetta in LA TRAVIATA and Greta Garbo's Camille. The premise is excellent, by the execution is marred by the presence of Isabelle Huppert in the title role. She seems just too scant and passive to be the self-sacrificing femme-fatale she is supposed to be portraying. And although the settings and decor are nothing short of superb (always dependable in Bolognini's films like THE INHERITANCE and LA GRANDE BOURGEOISE), little is gained by the constant clinical insistence on Alphonsine's genuine sickness (she is constantly coughing up blood for our edification) and by the unconvincing delineation of her relationships with her suitors. The film is very much worth seeing if for no other reason than to compare it with other better versions of the story, perhaps the Zeffirelli film version of the opera, with Teresa Stratas and Placido Domingo.
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