La Belle Noiseuse (3 Disc Definitive Edition) DVD

Jacques Rivette, 1991

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Film Details

Directed by Jacques Rivette

Produced in 1991

Main Language - French with English subtitles

Countries & Regions - European Film, French Film

MovieMail's Review

This much admired arthouse work from Jacques Rivette now available in a 3 disc edition which includes the Divertimento version for the first time, as well as the standard 4 hour cut. David Parkinson explains why watching this is time well spent.

Critic turned auteur, Jacques Rivette has never been one to hurry. L'Amour Fou runs for four hours and 12 minutes. Out One lasts for 13 hours, with the `abridged' version, Out One: Spectre, clocking in around 270 minutes. Even the more accessible Celine and Julie Go Boating (192 mins) and Secret Defence (170 mins) were played out in their own good time. But rarely have 240 minutes been better spent than in the company of this magisterial study of the agonising process of creation.

Basically, this is an art-house investigation into the Indecent Proposal idea, as a young artist offers up his girlfriend to spark the inspiration of a painter who hasn’t worked in the decade since abandoning a nude study of his wife, `La Belle Noiseuse’ (Quebecois slang for a woman who drives men to distraction).

What follows is a battle of wills between Michel Piccoli’s aging artist, spurned spouse Jane Birken and reluctant model, Emmanuelle Béart. The marital duel is the more emotionally intense. But Piccoli’s determination to capture the essence of the proud Béart is the more compelling, as it’s enacted in real time in the tactile terms of ink sketches, charcoal outlines and watercolour washes.

If the hand of Bernard Dufour provides the on-screen finesse, then Piccoli supplies the artistic passion, as he contemplates Béart’s flesh not only as an artistic challenge, but also as a means of freeing himself from Birkin’s stifling affection and, thus, of reviving his career. Rarely has so cerebral a film been so brutal.

David Parkinson on 13th May 2003
Author of 245 reviews

La Belle Noiseuse (3 Disc Definitive Edition) La Belle Noiseuse (3 Disc Definitive Edition) La Belle Noiseuse (3 Disc Definitive Edition)

Film Description

Young artist Nicolas and his mistress Marianne (Emmanuelle Béart) meet a famous painter, Frenhofer (Michel Piccoli), who is persuaded to restart work on a long-abandoned picture for which Marianne agrees to model. As a relationship blossoms between the tyrannical genius and his young muse, tensions develop between the young couple and Frenhofer and his wife. By the time the masterpiece is completed, all four lives have been irreversibly altered.

Shot in Academy ratio, showing that you don't need widescreen to be visually stunning, this is an utterly engrossing film that won the Grand Prix at Cannes in 1991 along with numerous other prizes, and which confirmed Rivette, for those who needed it, as one of the great film makers.

DVD Details

Certificate: 15

Publisher: Artificial Eye

Length: 229 mins

Aspect ratio: 1.33:1

Format: DVD Colour

Region: 2

Released: 21st September 2009

Cat No: ART450DVD

DVD Extras

  • 3 discs
  • Includes the 4 hour cut and, for the first time on DVD, Belle Noiseuse: Divertimento.

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Community Reviews

by Anon on 21st March 2001

Engrossing study of a work in progress and its effect on all the characters. Read on


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