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This is one of my favorite movies of all time and was released in two
versions - with La Belle Noiseuse being the longer of the two.
I definitely recommend picking a quiet evening - perhaps with a glass of wine in hand - - and enjoying.
This is a story of an artist (Michel Piccoli) - who after several years of retirement - - is coaxed by his friend to return to his craft to paint his unrealized masterpiece. He chooses - as his model - a beautiful temperament full young woman - rather than his wife (Jane Birkin).
Several beautifully interwoven themes of human emotions are evident - jealously - frustration - longing - triumph and finally understanding.
For those of you who enjoy this film - I would also recommend the classic: Les Enfants du Paradis (Children of Paradise).
This was a VERY long and unusual movie. For me there were things to
like and things to dislike. Despite its length, and at times its
boredom, I did find myself compelled to watch the whole thing. It was a
fascinating study of an old artist rediscovering his talent, and a
young girl opening up to herself through modeling for him. That's the
part I enjoyed. The lengthy scenes of the artist plying his trade were
clearly done so to communicate the time and tedium involved. And it
But you won't find any of the trappings of Hollywood here to help you with understanding the movie. There is no music - zip, nada, none. No sound effects, no special effects of any kind. No dramatic camera angles or quick cuts, the camera work and the sets were very plain and individual shots lated for minutes at a time. And there was even precious little dialog. When conversations occurred, they were short, often cryptic, and filled with innuendo, leaving one to figure out what was meant.
So what was left? The acting. This film relied solely on the abilities of the actors to convey everything. As such it could have easily been produced as a play - although the audience would have had to been issued No-Doze on the way in.
Did it deliver? Yes and no. As I stated, it portrayed the journeys of the artist and the model quite well. But, where it fell short was the delivery of the main plot. The painting was supposed to be this powerful thing that could change people's lives. People were warned to be careful. But in the end, what came across to me was that these were a bunch of self- absorbed people that didn't have any real problems to worry about so they blew all this stuff about the painting and artist way out of proportion. They were selling it, but I wasn't buying it. Maybe I'm jaded and need more of the Hollywood "support" system" of music, lighting, etc., but the intensity of the central plot just didn't come across for me.
After investing all that time, at the end I was left thinking, "Is that it?" I don't think it was a complete waste of time, but I couldn't really recommend it to anyone.
Well that's two hours of my life I want back. Two hours of watching
rich French people telling each other their lives are unbearable in
incomplete sentences. The subtitles for this movie had more ellipses
(that's the three dot thing when people suddenly stop...) than any
other movie I have seen. I am so glad I didn't suffer the four hour
There is a basic screen-writing adage that says get into the scene as late as you can and then get out as soon as you can. Most of this movie is a direct inversion of that rule of thumb. Characters arrive in the scene, move randomly around the set so the director can follow them a bit with his camera, stand about, don't say much, look past each other, then decide there isn't a scene after all and wander off somewhere else to stand around being cryptically insulting to each other and smoking aggressively for a bit.
I had a choice tonight. I could have watched Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter instead of this. I wish I had.
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