Directed by: Pascale Ferran
Countries & Regions: France
Length: 161 mins
Region: Region 2
Released: 14 April 2008
Cat No: ART390DVD
Screen ratio 1:1.78
Dolby Digital 5.1
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Lady Chatterley (2006)
Award-winning Fench adaptation of DH Lawrence’s controversial classic about sexual awakening. Trapped in a passionless marriage to an... Read More
Director Pascale Ferran came late to DH Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover. She expected a musty erotic novel. ‘No one had told me it's simply the most beautiful love story in the world’, she said. Research led her to the novel’s more bucolic second version, John Thomas and Lady Jane (the French title Lady Chatterley et l'homme des bois is pertinent here), and it is this that she adapted for the screen.
The background to the central story – Clifford's impotence, his wealth as a mineowner, political disquiet, Connie’s disapproving sister Hilda – are only lightly touched upon; the film’s real emphasis is on the central relationship between the nervy Connie and the taurine gamekeeper Parkin. The casting of Marina Hands and Jean-Louis Coullo’ch as the leads is exemplary, they look right, and there is a halting tremulousness to their awkward, budding relationship that is moving in its honest modesty. Ferran’s film simply and affectingly depicts two people growing to be comfortable with each other’s nakedness, and learning how to give of themselves.
Their relationship is set to the rhythm and sounds of nature, and is grounded in the changing of the seasons. The sound of the film is predominantly that of birdsong, the hum of insects, rain, or as in the early scenes in the cheerless, drab house – all verdigris, eau-de-nil and wood panelling – the awful silence of daylight dragging for Connie, her time marked by the hollow ring of floorboards, the polishing of silver or the starchiness of bedlinen. Getting outside to the springtime woods, for Connie and for us, is a liberation for the senses. (As Polanski located Hardy’s Wessex in Brittany and Normandy in Tess, so Ferran here finds Derbyshire in a lovely part of the Limousin region of France.)
Ferran said that a gentle approach characterised her working method on the film. This is appropriate. Passion is only one element of Connie and Parkin’s relationship, along with respect, understanding and tenderness (the early working title for Lawrence’s book). By the open ending of this positive film about the transformative power of honest sexual love, both characters have been changed for the better. It ends with a single word; ‘Yes’.