La Belle Noiseuse

Overview

In this fascinating and unconventional examination of the creative process, an artist near the end of his career finds new inspiration in a young model. Edouard Frenhofer Michel Piccoli is a famous and well-respected artist who lives in a comfortable estate in the French countryside. At the age of 60, Frenhofer considers his career as a painter to be over; he says he no longer feels any inspiration to create, and his last attempt at a major work, a nude study of his wife Liz Jane Birkin called "La Belle Noiseuse"...
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Overview

In this fascinating and unconventional examination of the creative process, an artist near the end of his career finds new inspiration in a young model. Edouard Frenhofer Michel Piccoli is a famous and well-respected artist who lives in a comfortable estate in the French countryside. At the age of 60, Frenhofer considers his career as a painter to be over; he says he no longer feels any inspiration to create, and his last attempt at a major work, a nude study of his wife Liz Jane Birkin called "La Belle Noiseuse" The Beautiful Nuisance, has sat unfinished for ten years. Just as Frenhofer has lost his enthusiasm for his art, he has also lost his passion for Liz; their relationship is polite and friendly, but without enthusiasm. When Frenhofer tells Nicolas David Bursztein, his young protégé, that he no longer feels the desire to paint, Nicolas suggests that he needs a more inspiring subject, and he offers his girlfriend Marianne Emmanuelle Béart as a model. Frenhofer is taken with Marianne's beauty, and, with Liz's cool approval, he and Marianne spend several arduous sessions together, exchanging ideas and opinions as Frenhofer methodically attempts to create a final masterpiece. While La Belle Noiseuse runs 240 minutes, director Jacques Rivette also prepared an alternate version, La Belle Noiseuse - Divertimento, which runs 120 minutes, features a different framing sequence, and incorporates takes unused in the original cut.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Mark Deming
The creative process is a largely internal affair, which may be why so few good films have been made about it: it's all but impossible to make thought visually interesting. But, more than almost any other film, Jacques Rivette's La Belle Noiseuse makes visual and narrative sense of the annoying, exhausting, frustrating, but joyously fascinating work of creating art. While painter Edouard Frenhofer (Michel Piccoli) and his model Marianne (Emmanuelle Béart) often discuss art, life, and creativity during the film's 240 minutes, much of the time we're simply looking over Frenhofer's shoulder as he works, first making preliminary sketches and then putting paint to canvas. While it doesn't sound terribly interesting (and in many hands it might not be), Rivette's patient eye and subtle rhythm allow us to see how scratchy lines or blobs of paint can grow into a portrait of a beautiful woman. Rivette also shows how many paths are explored and abandoned, how many choices are made and then revised, how many variables have to be worked out, as the artist attempts to create something unique. In La Belle Noiseuse, art is damned hard work, and, if it's a long and agonizing process, Rivette makes it almost as interesting to watch as to do.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 11/11/1998
  • UPC: 717119599430
  • Original Release: 1991
  • Rating:

  • Source: New Yorker Video
  • Format: VHS

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Michel Piccoli Edouard Frenhofer
Emmanuelle Béart Marianne
Jane Birkin Liz
David Bursztein Nicolas
Marianne Denicourt Julienne
Gilles Arbona Porbus
Marie-Claude Roger Francoise
Bernard Dufour Painter's Hand
Susan Robertson Tourist
Technical Credits
Jacques Rivette Director, Screenwriter
Pascal Bonitzer Screenwriter
Emmanuel de Chauvigny Production Designer
Florian Eidenbenz Sound/Sound Designer
Pierre Grise Producer
Christine Laurent Screenwriter
Nicole Lubtchansky Editor
William Lubtchansky Cinematographer
Martine Mariganc Producer
Susan Robertson Makeup
Laurence Struz Costumes/Costume Designer
Maurice Tinchant Associate Producer
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