IMDb > The Public Woman (1984)
La femme publique
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The Public Woman (1984) More at IMDbPro »La femme publique (original title)


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Release Date:
16 May 1984 (France) See more »
An unexperienced young actress is invited to play a role in a film based on Dostoyevsky's 'The Possessed'... See more » | Add synopsis »
2 wins & 3 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Zulawski and Kaprisky in a nice slice of Gallic insanity See more (5 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Valérie Kaprisky ... Ethel
Francis Huster ... Lucas Kessling

Lambert Wilson ... Milan Mliska

Patrick Bauchau ... Le père d'Ethel / Ethel's Father
Giselle Pascal ... Gertrude
Roger Dumas ... André, le photographe
Diane Delor ... Elena Mliska
Jean-Paul Farré ... Pierre
Olivier Achard ... Le premier assistant réalisateur
Yveline Ailhaud ... Rachel
Michel Albertini ... Maurice
Marianne Basler ... Une jeune anarchiste
Nathalie Bécue ... L'habilleuse

Lucas Belvaux ... François
René Bériard ... Mgr Shlapas
Marc Berman ... Un conspirateur
René Breuil
Julien Bukowski ... Un automobiliste
Michèle Couty
Martine De Coninck
Marie-Christine Demarest
Philippe Desboeuf
Michael Goldman ... Le producteur
Andrzej Jaroszewicz ... L'opérateur
Sylvie Le Pennuen ... La maquilleuse
Martine Logier ... Une infirmière
Vincent Martin ... Vincent
Pascale Pellegrin
Etienne Roda-Gil
Agnès Scheinberg ... Une serveuse
Serge Spira
Bernard Waver ... Salomon
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Directed by
Andrzej Zulawski 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Dominique Garnier  novel
Dominique Garnier  scenario
Andrzej Zulawski  scenario

Produced by
René Cleitman .... producer
Original Music by
Alain Wisniak 
Cinematography by
Sacha Vierny 
Film Editing by
Marie-Sophie Dubus 
Production Design by
Bohdan Paczowski 
Costume Design by
Olga Berluti 
Jean Zay 
Production Management
Paul Maigret .... production manager
Art Department
Laurent Coutellier .... painter
Sound Department
Jonathan Liebling .... foley artist
Rémy Julienne .... stunt coordinator
Camera and Electrical Department
Jean-Marie Dreujou .... second assistant camera
Jacques Labesse .... first assistant camera
Georges Pierre .... still photographer
Yves Rodallec .... camera operator
Other crew
Sylvie Koechlin .... script supervisor
Christine Raffa-Catonné .... script trainee
Harmel Sbraire .... coach: actors

Production CompaniesDistributors
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Additional Details

Also Known As:
"La femme publique" - France (original title)
See more »
113 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.66 : 1 See more »

Did You Know?

Movie Connections:
Referenced in The Witnesses (2007)See more »
Grande messe en ut mineur kv 427See more »


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13 out of 29 people found the following review useful.
Zulawski and Kaprisky in a nice slice of Gallic insanity, 2 February 2007
Author: lazarillo from Denver, Colorado and Santiago, Chile

Andrej Zulawski's most famous film "Possession" was released more or less in English, but still barely made a lick of sense, so I didn't have much luck with this one which is so far only available in French or (in the version I saw)Italian. This may not matter though as much of the film is taken up by scenes of the gorgeous Valerie Kaprisky dancing around buck naked or having sex with various men. Model/actress Kaprisky plays a model/actress (there's a stretch). Her "modeling seems to consist mostly of her stripping to the skin and doing bizarre dances to horrid Europop numbers while a creepy, elderly photographer snaps pictures of her impressive torso. Maybe it's the awful music, but these sessions inevitably seem to end in her or the photog. having some kind of physical or emotional breakdown. Zulawski uses the same confusing temporal dislocation here he used in "Possession". In one session the photographer apparently drops dead from a heart attack, but in the next he is not only alive but apparently fit enough to go crazy, grab Kaprisky by the throat, and start shoving dollar bills in her mouth (and other, off-screen orifices)for some reason...

Meanwhile her character is also appearing in a legitimate movie (apparently some kind of costume drama). The director of the movie is bedding Kaprisky, but he seems more interested in trying to cause her to have some kind of real-life emotional breakdown for the sake of his "art" (ironically, Isabel Adjani had accused director Zulawski of trying to do the exact same thing to her in "Possession"). She also becomes involved with another crew-member who is apparently one of those vague French Marxist revolutionaries of that era (an era in which the US military was still protecting bourgeois France from all those "Marxist revolutionaries" over in the USSR). Naturally, a whole lot of pathos ensues.

Kaprisky gives a very committed performance, even if she is definitely no Isabel Adjani. This is probably her best film (although that's not necessarily saying much). The movie really isn't anymore non-sensical than "Possession" (in fact, it would probably be less so if it had English subtitles),and like that film it's at least not boring for one minute. If you take all that for a recommendation, by all means help yourself to this little slice of Gallic insanity.

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