Violette Leduc, born a bastard at the beginning of last century, meets Simone de Beauvoir in the years after the war in St-Germain-des-Prés. Then begins an intense relationship between the ...
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In an interwar France struggling with profound social and political change, 18-year-old Violette Noziere rebels against the constraints of her claustrophobic, working-class (and possibly incestuous) family, with troubling consequences.
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Violette Leduc, born a bastard at the beginning of last century, meets Simone de Beauvoir in the years after the war in St-Germain-des-Prés. Then begins an intense relationship between the two women that will last throughout their lives, a relationship based on the quest for freedom through writing for Violette and conviction for Simone to have in their hands the fate of an extraordinary writer.Written by
An important, but somewhat forgotten, feminist author
The French film Violette (2013) was directed by Martin Provost. It tells the story of Violette LeDuc, who's was considered an important feminist author in the postwar period, but who is now largely forgotten except by feminist scholars.
When the film opens, Violette (played by Emmanuelle Devos) is running from the police. We assume that she's wanted by the Gestapo, but, in fact, she is just caught hiding some black-market food, for which she spends a few days in prison.
Eventually, after the war, LeDuc goes to Paris, where she is befriended by Simone de Beauvoir (played by Sandrine Kiberlain). LeDuc is introduced to de Beauvoir's circle-- Sartre, Camus, Genet. LeDuc began to write--mainly semi-autobiographic novels--that attained some popularity, despite being heavily censored. The censorship was due to the lesbian content, as well as the graphic sexuality. (Tame subjects now, but not in post-war France.)
I didn't enjoy this movie much. Violette, as portrayed in the film, wasn't really a fascinating character. The movie ran for over two hours, with too many scenes of discussions in publishers' offices. I thought the best component of the film was Kiberlain's portrayal of Simone de Beauvoir. Her Beauvoir was beautiful in a non-traditional way, and very forceful and direct. Despite the title of the movie, the screen didn't light up when LeDuc was portrayed. For me, Beauvoir was the character who was truly at the center of the movie.
We saw this film at the Little Theatre, as part of ImageOut, the admirable Rochester LGBT Film Festival. It will work well on DVD.
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