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La provinciale (1981)

A 31 year-old designer moves to Paris in search of steady work but finds only dead ends, harassments, and broken promises.


Claude Goretta


Claude Goretta (dialogue), Jacques Kirsner | 1 more credit »
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »


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Credited cast:
Nathalie Baye ... Christine
Angela Winkler ... Claire
Bruno Ganz ... Remy
Patrick Chesnais ... Pascal
Jean Davy Jean Davy ... B. de Larive
Jacques Lalande Jacques Lalande ... Le promoteur
Jean Obé Jean Obé ... Trabert
Dominique Paturel Dominique Paturel ... Ralph
Jean Valmont Jean Valmont ... Dargeol
Pierre Vernier Pierre Vernier ... Le publiciste
Paul Andrieu Paul Andrieu ... Dangelle
Jean Bollery Jean Bollery ... Jacques Legean
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Jacques Alric Jacques Alric
Richard Anconina
Marcelle Barreau Marcelle Barreau


A 31 year-old designer moves to Paris in search of steady work but finds only dead ends, harassments, and broken promises.

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France | Switzerland



Release Date:

21 January 1981 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

The Girl from Lorraine See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

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User Reviews

A long journey to nowhere
18 June 2002 | by jandesimpsonSee all my reviews

Even the finest directors have their off-days. On the evidence of "La Dentelliere" alone, the Swiss Claude Goretta is a remarkable artist. Although he never quite achieved another work as sustained in its level of inspiration, there are some marvellous things in his Rousseau biopic "Chemins d'exile" and an admirably established sense of time and place in "The Death of Mario Ricci". But what to make of "La Provinciale" which ventures into "Dentelliere" territory by again exploring the theme of the "innocent" trying to come to terms with a disappointing world? Not that Nathalie Baye's "Girl from Lorraine" is as shy and defenceless as Isabelle Huppert's Pomme. At least she fights back when sexually harassed by a prospective employer even though it costs her a job and a few tears. "La Provenciale" has a wonderfully promising opening. During a time of economic recession, Christine decides to leave family and friends in the industrial heartland of eastern France to seek work in Paris. She leaves behind emotional security symbolised by the choir to which she belongs for a social milieu where nothing is guaranteed. Everything in this prologue is sharply observed so that we feel we know this girl and her background intimately. However from the point when she reaches Paris the film starts to lose its way through lack of narrative development. It becomes a series of episodic encounters, each one reinforcing Christine's disillusionment. a dirty-minded would-be employer, a businessman who puts a promotional prospect before romantic attachment, an alcoholic who is weary of living and a group of men at a country houseparty who use the women guests as pawns for their gambling. Always in a Goretta film the men behave badly to women who are often innocent to the point of naivety. If there is an additional message here it would appear to be that home is best. The problem is that it takes an awfully long time and a journey leading nowhere to say this. How much more rewarding was another provincial girl's journey to the big city in search of work, that of Carrie, William Wyler's eponymous heroine in his 1952 masterpiece. Now there was a journey that really led somewhere!

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