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The Beautiful Troublemaker (1991)

La Belle Noiseuse (original title)
Unrated | | Drama | 4 September 1991 (France)
1:48 | Trailer
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.


Jacques Rivette


Pascal Bonitzer (scenario), Christine Laurent (scenario) | 4 more credits »
6 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview:
Michel Piccoli ... Edouard Frenhofer
Jane Birkin ... Liz
Emmanuelle Béart ... Marianne
Marianne Denicourt ... Julienne
David Bursztein David Bursztein ... Nicolas
Gilles Arbona Gilles Arbona ... Porbus
Marie Belluc Marie Belluc ... Magali
Marie-Claude Roger Marie-Claude Roger ... Françoise
Leïla Remili Leïla Remili ... La servante
Daphne Goodfellow Daphne Goodfellow ... Deux touristes (as Daphné Goodfellow)
Susan Robertson Susan Robertson ... Deux touristes
Bernard Dufour 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 <bertheau@mi-lab.fh-furtwangen.de>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The torment of creating the naked beauty on canvas!




Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


The picture in the film is drawn by the hand of the artist Bernard Dufour. 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 »

Crazy Credits

Tous les dessins et peintures d'Edouard Frenhofer sont l'oeuvre de Bernard Dufour. All the drawings and paintings of Edouard Frenhofer are the work of Bernard Dufour. See more »

Alternate Versions

Short version (125 minutes, less nudity, brighter lighting, almost different takes and editing) titled "Divertimento" showing for TV, then released theatrically in 1993. See more »


Version of Divertimento (1992) See more »


Music by Igor Stravinsky
Performed by Orchestre National Ortf (as Orchestre National de la RTF)
Conducted by Pierre Monteux
(avec l'autorisation des disques Montaigne)
See more »

User Reviews

paint a pristine picture
25 February 2007 | by dbdumonteilSee all my reviews

Unless you're a New Wavelet devotee or your intellectual capacities are wide, Jacques Rivette is a filmmaker who isn't very close to many average viewers. In many of his films he loses himself amid his intellectual ideas and doesn't mind developing them while neglecting notions of storytelling, progression in narration and time. Consequently, the average length of his works is of about two hours and a half. Many filmmakers left very long films too. But they keep in mind that their films are destined to be understood by the general public and so obey to rules of clarification in their accessible stories.

"La Belle Noiseuse" is one of his most palatable pieces of work in spite of its challenging length. It clocks in at 4 hours but don't panic, time won't seem long to you for Rivette keeps a decent linearity from the first reunion with the main characters of the film to the surprising final denouement to the agreement of Marianne (Emmanuelle Béart) to serve as a model for the painter Frenhofer (Michel Piccoli). Along their adventure, some details will witness the progression of the story: Marianne sleeps in Frenhofer's mansion while the latter falls asleep in his studio. An aesthetic refinement freely sourced from Honoré De Balzac's novel "the Unknown Masterpiece" and perhaps the son of "le Mystère Picasso" (1956) by Henri-Georges Clouzot, Rivette's piece of work is a dive in the twists and turns of artistic creation and all that it can comprise with its times of hopes, doubts, fears. Frenhofer naturally starts with a series of sketches and continues with numerous paintings attempts and countless, testing poses for Marianne. The two characters are engaged in a creative process that is highly likely to leave them exhausted to say the least. The filmmaker deftly taps the scenery of the mansion and notably the studio where he locks for the major part of the film, Marianne and Frenhofer for better and for worse. A painstaking care is given to sound with the squeaking of charcoal and brush. To better capture the sense of spontaneous creation, Rivette fell back on methods worthy of the New Wavelet and notably Godard's: he shot his film without a script near him and perhaps that's why many moments seem extemporaneous. But unlike Godard's smug works, Rivette's one remains quite understandable as a whole.

A dark legend surrounds this film about its success, one of the few Rivette enjoyed all along his career. Was it due to Emmanuelle Béart's nudity? "La Religieuse" (1966) was banned because it was deemed as shocking for a major part of the population according to the censors. This banning contributed to the popularity of the film. So, it would seem that Rivette has to put elements likely to be scabrous to make himself accepted by general public.

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France | Switzerland


French | English | Hebrew

Release Date:

4 September 1991 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

The Beautiful Troublemaker See more »

Filming Locations:

Assas, Hérault, France


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,887, 26 November 2017

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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