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Gilles' Wife

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Product Details

  • Actors: Emmanuelle Devos, Clovis Cornillac, Laura Smet, Colette Emmanuelle, Gil Lagay
  • Directors: Frédéric Fonteyne
  • Writers: Frédéric Fonteyne, Madeleine Bourdouxhe, Marion Hänsel, Philippe Blasband
  • Producers: Andrea Occhipinti, Christophe Rossignon, Claude Waringo
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: French (Unknown)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Koch Lorber Films
  • DVD Release Date: August 8, 2006
  • Run Time: 103 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000FTCF4U
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #400,988 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Gilles' Wife" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Commentary by director Frédéric Fonteyne
  • Deleted scenes with director commentary
  • Making-of featurette
  • Original French trailer

Editorial Reviews

Set in the 1930’s, Gilles’ Wife is a haunting tale of love and betrayal in a small mining town on the outskirts of France. A startling new film from director Frederic Fonteyne (Une Liaison Pornographique), and featuring an extraordinary performance from Emmanuelle Devos (Kings and Queen), it tells the story of Elisa, a devoted wife who begins to suspect her husband Gilles is having an affair with her younger sister. Determined to save her marriage, Elisa undertakes a strange and disquieting battle to recover what she has lost, and to become once again, Gilles’ wife.

"Lavishly beautiful…Devos gives a stunning performance" – New York Daily News

"An intense, slow-burning tale of simmering jealousy and corrosive sexual obsession." – Time Out New York

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By MICHAEL ACUNA on July 1, 2006
Format: DVD
One of the great pleasures of "Gilles Wife" is watching the incredible Emmanuelle Devos as she observes, listens to or reacts to others with her huge, limpid eyes. She has the manner, carriage and of course, the powers of observation of a great silent film star...Mary Pickford or Lillian Gish come to mind which is entirely appropriate in this film in that director Frederic Fonteyne ("An Affair of Love") has chosen to film much of "Gilles Wife" without dialogue.
Based on a 1937 Belgian novel by Madeleine Bourdouxhe, Devos plays Elisa, a country housewife and mother who fears her rough-hewn husband (Clovis Cornillac) is having an affair with her beautiful younger sister Victorine (Laura Smet). Ever the committed and devout wife: Elisa stoops to spy on her sister to assuage her husband's fears that Victorine has several lovers. But though this may sound like debasement, because Elisa's Love for Gilles is all encompassing and without limits or pride her devotion instead becomes transcendent.
"Gilles Wife" is well directed and beautifully photographed and provides yet another opportunity to bask in the talent and heat that is Devos.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 23, 2006
Format: DVD
'La Femme de Gilles' ('Gilles' Wife') began as a novel by Madeleine Bourdouxhe and was transformed for the screen by Philippe Blasband, Marion Hänsel and Frédéric Fonteyne who also directs this stunning and controversial art piece. Certainly one of the most visually magnificent films of recent years (cinematographer Virginie Saint-Martin) 'Gilles' Wife' succeeds on every level: the story is unique, the direction is liquid and languorous, and the cast is superlative.

Elisa (the remarkably sensitive Emmanuelle Devos) lives with her husband Gilles in what appears to be a perfect marriage: Elisa is the doting but sincerely in love housewife who spends her days caring for their twin daughters, cleaning house, cooking special meals, canning berry jams, keeping her husband satisfied sexually; Gilles (Clovis Cornillac) appears to be a loving husband, tender with Elisa, enamored with her, and content. Elisa has a younger attractive sister Victorine (Laura Smet) who visits this haven-like household frequently to see her nieces and almost from the start we sense there is an attraction between Gilles and Victorine. Elisa becomes pregnant with their third child and Gilles grows a bit distant. Elisa gradually acknowledges the fact that he is having an affair with Victorine and though hurt by the deception she decides the only way to keep Gilles is to allow him to discuss the matter with her. Patiently she listens to his fears that Victorine may have another lover and in fact allows Elisa to stalk Victorine to substantiate the affair. Elisa accomplishes her mission and Gilles is devastated with the truth, all the while paying little attention to the emotional sacrifices Elisa is making on his behalf.
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Format: DVD
Koch Lorber Films and Cinema Guild (US) / Mars Films present - "Gilles' Wife" (2004) - Frederic Fonteyne (Dolby Digital) --- true cinematic film making, haunting and lavishly beautiful, with a stunning performances by Emmanuelle Devos ... magical and fascinating story mixed with moving drama and compelling direction from Frederic Fonteyne, his way of positioning the camera was a large part of the film ----- Under Frédéric Fonteyne (Director / Screenwriter), Patrick Quinet (Producer), Claude Waringo (Producer), Philippe Blasband (Screenwriter), Madeleine Bourdouxhe (Book Author), Marion Hänsel (Screenwriter), Virginie Saint-Martin (Cinematographer), Virginie St. Martin (Cinematographer), Vincent d'Hondt (Composer (Music Score), Ewin Ryckaert (Editor) ----- the cast includes Emmanuelle Devos (Elisa), Clovis Cornillac (Gilles), Laura Smet (Victorine), Alice Verlinden (La jumelle #1), Chloé Verlinden (La jumelle #2), Colette Emmanuelle (La mère d'Élisa), Gil Lagay (Le père d'Élisa) . . . . . our story takes place in the 1930s with an extraordinary cast and in the lead is Emmanuelle Devos (Elisa), playing the part of a loving wife who's husband is having an affair ... the husband Clovis Cornillac has eyes for Laura Smet the sister of his wife, can Devos win back her husbands love and save the marriage ... what is the ravings her husband expounds, can a priest give her the answer and peace ... the question is will she succeed and keep her family together ... must make mention that Emmanuele Devos carries the film, the expressions and emotion in her face sends a message to the audience without words --- Film Presented 2004 Toronto International Film Festival.


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Keith W. Harvey on March 10, 2008
Format: DVD
Coincidentally, I watched La Femme de Gilles the same weekend I viewed Georg Wilhelm Pabst's Die Buchse der Pandora.

I found a similarity in the two films in that we see rather than hear the intense emotions in both female protagonists. This experience is not unusual in a silent film but somewhat of a novelty in a modern one.

Fonteyne accomplishes this intensity by filming the pivotal scenes without dialogue. What we see is Emmanuelle Devos' face and eyes expressing her intense feelings. We viewers know, without being told explicitly, that tragedy awaits her. We see it and we feel it intensely. There is no grand summary or confrontation; there is no mediation of language to protect us from her sadness and her tragedy.

Additionally, natural symbols abound. After the beginning of the affair in summer, frigid winter falls. Her sadness deepens and her suspicions are confirmed. She works; she gives birth. She nurtures her selfish and childish husband as he suffers from Victorine's rejection. Her downfall follows her triumph over Victorine, when she realizes she lives with an empty shirt she scrubs clean.

All in all La Femme de Gilles is a magnificient silent film.
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