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Belle (1973)

The aging romancier Mathieu Grégoire falls in love with a female stranger who doesn't even understand his language. Their uncommon relationship upsets his family.


André Delvaux
1 nomination. See more awards »


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Credited cast:
Jean-Luc Bideau ... Mathieu Grégoire
Danièle Delorme Danièle Delorme ... Jeanne
Adriana Bogdan Adriana Bogdan ... Belle
Roger Coggio ... Victor
René Hainaux René Hainaux ... Deputy
Stéphane Excoffier Stéphane Excoffier ... Marie
John Dobrynine John Dobrynine ... John
Valerio Popesco Valerio Popesco ... Stranger
François Beukelaers François Beukelaers ... False Stranger
André Blavier André Blavier ... Vincent
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Marc Audier Marc Audier ... Patron de café
Arlette Emmery Arlette Emmery ... La récitante
Suzanne Gohy Suzanne Gohy ... Mother
Yvette Merlin Yvette Merlin ... Patronne des 'Joités'


The line between fantasy and reality is once more blurred in this Belgian/French drama about a professor of literature who develops an obsession with a beautiful woman he meets (or imagines meeting) in the woods. He has an affair with this woman, but before he can run off with her, his daughter, who is an object of his incestuous desire (as several daydream sequences make clear), kills the stranger. Perhaps, though, his daughter only kills his daydreams when she gets married. Written by Lament

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis






Belgium | France



Release Date:

17 January 1974 (Spain) See more »

Also Known As:

Amor Louco See more »

Filming Locations:

Spa, Wallonia, Belgium See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Featured in De man die zijn haar kort liet knippen archieven (2005) See more »

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User Reviews

A surrealistic story in the moors
4 March 2014 | by mvanhooreSee all my reviews

It's strange to review a title that after 15 years of IMDb had only one review by another user. Although the movie was in competition for the Palme d'Or in Cannes in the year it was released. André Delvaux was a director from Wallonia and is above all known in that part of Belgium and neighboring country France. Belle is lesser known than films like The Man Who Had His Hair Cut Short and Un Soir, un Train. Films that were released in the sixties when Delvaux started making movies with a deep surrealistic feel inspired by painter Paul Delvaux (no relation) although Belle also reminded me of the work of René Magritte. In fact this film is now so obscure that the only version I was able to watch was with Russian narrative over the French dialogues.

The protagonist is a professor of literature who studies the old stories of some barren regions of Wallonia. One day he hits what he believes is an animal with his car while he drives home in the night. The day after he returns to investigate and he meets a woman living in shack in the peat lands. The woman speaks a language not common to Gregoire (the professor) and it's not clear how she came living in such a remote country. Gregoire becomes totally obsessed with the woman he names Belle and neglects his career and his family. Then a man appears in the moors and throughout the film it stays vague what's his relationship with Belle. Is he her husband, a villain or even her pimp? When the man starts interrupting in Gregoire's normal live he decides to end the problem with violence and flee with Belle.

As said the movie has a surrealistic mood and the viewer is left with the question if the whole story was only a dream by Gregoire. His memories seem not to match reality and it is easy to imagine that his mind makes up an escape from his boring routines. Then there is a dream sequence where an incestuous interest from Gregoire for his daughter is showed. Although later in the film it is made clear that he is anything but happy about her forthcoming marriage nothing else is showed that indicates such an interest. Even Belle shows absolutely no resemblance to his daughter.

The film tries to balance on the thin cord of psychological drama, surrealistic thriller and sometimes even comedy. Mathieu Gregoire works his way through the film without ever having control over the events and it is not clear if he ever tries to solve the problems with his wife or that his friends or his family want to take any action in his movement. So if Belle is an intriguing movie the plot could have been worked out better, some of the characters could have portrayed better and also the acting is not always convincing.

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