La belle noiseuse (1991)

Unrated  |   |  Drama  |  4 September 1991 (France)
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 4,497 users  
Reviews: 44 user | 30 critic

The former famous painter Frenhofer revisits an abandoned project using the girlfriend of a young visiting artist. Questions about truth, life, and artistic limits are explored.



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Cast overview:
Marianne Denicourt ...
David Bursztein ...
Gilles Arbona ...
Marie Belluc ...
Marie-Claude Roger ...
Leïla Remili ...
La servante
Daphne Goodfellow ...
Deux touristes
Susan Robertson ...
Deux touristes
Bernard Dufour ...
La main du peintre


The former famous painter Frenhofer lives quietly with his wife in his countryside residence in the French Provence. When the young artist Nicolas visits him with his girlfriend Marianne, Frenhofer decides to start working again on a painting called 'La Belle Noiseuse', which he gave up a long time ago. And he wants Marianne as a model. The ensuing creative process will change the characters' lives. It will become a struggle for truth and meaning, and the question about the limits of art will arise. Written by Jens Bertheau <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

painter | artist | provence | model | art | See All (38) »




Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:







Release Date:

4 September 1991 (France)  »

Also Known As:

A Bela Impertinente  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office


$408,571 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (dvd)

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Frenhofer mentions a sculptor, Rubek, and his model, Irene, who both died in Norway. This is a reference to a play by Henrik Ibsen, 'When We Dead Awake'. See more »


In Frenhofer's studio, the position of Marianne's legs changes between the long shot (right leg bent and forward) and close shot (left leg bent and forward) when Frenhofer is telling them that they will be unhappy as well. See more »


Referenced in Kiss and Run (2002) See more »


Music by Igor Stravinsky
Performed by Sinfonie-Orchester des Südwestfunks (as Orchestre de Südwestfunk de Baden-Baden)
Conducted by Hans Rosbaud
(avec l'autorisation des disques Adès)
See more »

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User Reviews

Watching Paint Dry
22 February 2006 | by (Virginia, USA) – See all my reviews

Can watching paint dry be riveting, interesting, and compelling? Can looking at a beautiful woman who is naked for almost three of four hours long movie be not erotic? Is it possible to watch the movie where an Artist creates sketch after sketch of his model in preparation for a painting and many scenes run in real time and not become bored but instead be totally absorbed by the painter on the screen and how he was progressing with his work? Jacques Rivette's "Le Belle Noiseuse" is certainly not for every taste but I found it immensely rewarding. It is one of very few films where creative process with all its tension, uncertainty, selfishness and self-centering of an artist who once he began working is nearly oblivious not only to his model's discomfort but to the feelings of the ones close to him have been shown on the screen with such truthful passion, technical excellence, and tremendous acting. Michel Piccoli as an aging painter Edouard Frenhofer, once famous and productive, Jane Birkin (Liz)- his much younger wife and a former favorite model, and Emmanuelle Béart as Marianne, the young, bright, and intensely intelligent woman whose presence awakened Frenhofer from semi-lethargy and made him want to paint again were unforgettable.

The film also explores a vital for any artist subject – what is more important, the process of creating a work of art or the result?

44 of 48 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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