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Violette is a finely nuanced portrait of Violette LeDuc (Emmanuelle Devos), one of the foremost French writers of the 20th century. In a beautifully mounted production, director Martin Provost (Séraphine) depicts LeDuc's extraordinary life, from her low beginnings as the illegitimate daughter of a servant girl to becoming ensconced in France's literary elite. In spite of her wretched years as an unwanted child, followed by tense years as a black marketeer during WWII, Violette LeDuc is determined, obsessed even, to make something of her life. Writing is her ticket out of misery, and with the encouragement and mentorship of legendary intellectual Simone de Beauvoir (Sandrine Kiberlain), Violette achieves admiration, renown and controversy for her emotionally raw novels and memoirs, finally winning freedom from wondering where her next meal will come from. Superb performances by Emmanuelle Devos (Coco Before Chanel) and Sandrine Kiberlain (Mademoiselle Chambon) make this gorgeously shot and directed life story an engrossing and memorable cinematic achievement.
Detalles del producto
- Clasificación de MPAA : NR (Not Rated)
- Dimensiones del producto : 0.7 x 7.5 x 5.4 pulgadas; 2.72 Onzas
- Número de modelo del producto : 29562630
- Director : Martin Provost
- Formato multimedia : Formatos múltiples, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitulado, De pantalla ancha
- Tiempo de ejecución : 2 horas y 12 minutos
- Fecha de lanzamiento : Octubre 14, 2014
- Actores : Emmanuelle Devos, Sandrine Kiberlain, Olivier Gourmet
- Subtítulos: : Inglés
- Estudio : Adopt Films
- ASIN : B00MIA0FH8
- País de origen : EE. UU.
- Número de discos : 1
Clasificación en los más vendidos de Amazon:
nº41,696 en Películas y TV (Ver el Top 100 en Películas y TV)
- nº8,919 en Drama (Películas y TV)
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With all that said, I had never heard of Violette Leduc. This was another excellent recommendation from the Amazon Prime Video program. I note that tomorrow, September 01, this movie will be removed from the Prime program, so I’m glad I saw it when I did.
I had never seen Simone de Beauvoir depicted in a film, and I think that Sandrine Kiberlain did an excellent job in her role of the woman that I imagined: a busy intellectual with plenty of projects but also a woman who enjoyed her own pleasures, but with enough consideration to lend a hand to a fellow writer who had more “hard-knocks,” and therefore the life experience to depict the rougher aspects of life that can befall, in particular, women. Emmanuelle Devos plays Violette brilliantly, the “ugly” woman from the hard-knocks school of illegitimacy, parental neglect and abandonment, back when the legal aspects of that mattered, sorry marriages, and even an abortion, when that was most difficult…
The movie commences during the Second World War, when the civilian population is struggling to eat, and the “black market,” is an essential mechanism for putting food on the table. Both Violette and her husband, Maurice Sachs, are active small-time players. Both are also writers. Sachs departs for Germany, apparently voluntarily, under circumstances that are unexplained, but it leaves Violette alone. She abandons the countryside for Paris, and via a lucky break, learns of de Beauvoir, pursues her in what appears to be a replica of the Café Flore, and gives her a copy of her autobiographical novel, “La Bâtarde.” Simone in turn gives it to Camus, and it is published soon thereafter. (Note: Neither Camus nor Sartre are shown on the screen, but the role of Jean Genet and his lover is depicted as a key aspect of the movie, as well as of Violette’s aspiring career.) At one level, Violette is at the heart of the French literary world; at another, she remains on the periphery. The tension between these two states is a core theme throughout the movie.
There is a LOT of sexuality that is ambiguous. In fact, it might seem that ambiguity is a key element of this circle, save for the few that are 100% straight homosexuals, like Genet. Most of the books that Genet, de Beauvoir and Leduc have written are shown, with their French titles, and briefly discussed. Simone even makes her famous pronouncement about marriage being slavery.
Late in life, in more heart-warming depictions for me, Violette finds what she is looking for in the Vaucluse. She gets off the rickety old bus, looking for Roussillon (the Director, Martin Provost, missed another literary tie-in, by not mentioning Samuel Beckett’s WW II stay in this village). Violette would eventually settle in Faucon, with its view of Mt. Ventoux, where she would die in 1972.
I placed “La Bâtarde” on my fantasy list to read (i.e., if I have enough time left). Seeing such excellent movies though might be beneficial in at least slowing “the coming of age,” and thus giving me a bit more time. 6-stars.
She was friends with Nobel prize winners Jean Paul Sartre and Albert Camus, and her mentor, Sartre's girlfriend, and in her own right, a famous writer, Simone de Beauvoir.
A very philosophical existential life. Oh, yeah, she was also friends with existential playwright radical Jean Genet.
Director Martin Provost does a good job in maintaining the feel of France after World War II. He does this by playing with lights, usually somber, and by replicating life in France right after the war, very little money and food, and he uses furniture of the epoch.
Violette grew up with a mother relationship problem. She was born out of wedlock. It haunts her throughout her life. She gets involved with a man who is a homosexual. He leaves her for Germany. She herself engages in lesbianism, but has affairs with men. Then her life changes; she meets de Beauvoir when she hands the famous French writer a manuscript. de Beauvoir is impressed. And passes the novel to Camus. He is also impressed.
The quest for existential fulfillment in a barren, cold indifferent world, where Rene Descartes's philosophy of "I think therefore I am" becomes "I think therefore I suffer" is the underlining gist of this story. In a nutshell, it's about a woman's quest to reach literature fulfillment. Violette does just that by writing about nine novels in her life, including one of her most famous "Le Batarde." Unlike other existentialist work, however, there's no absurdity, a dark humor in an absurd world.
This movie is in French. The language is simple to understand plus there is adequate English subtitles. I'm fluent in French so I understood every spoken word. Angst is the driving plot of this story. Her personal angst with her mother, and her struggle to be heard in a deaf world. She is hardcore determined to reach literature's highest plate for the time: the existential life - Why am I Here? - based on Sartre's great philosophical oeuvre "Being and Nothingness."
Her friendship with de Beauvoir gave Violette inspiration to write. She writes mainly to escape from her misery. Yet in the existential world misery is natural. It's a world of suffering, some shut it out, some are overwhelmed by it.
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Women are in the shadows. They are the second sex. Simone de Beauvoir speaks for them, though hers is also a weary and angry voice. The war was bad, she says, yet so is the post-war world. Women in France have limited financial independence and professional opportunities. Not until 1964, in fact, will they be given the legal right to create bank accounts in their own names. Hard to believe but true.
In this milieu the writer Violette Leduc emerges from obscurity, helped into publication by Simone de Beauvoir, who sees in her a writer to help liberate women from their roles of subservience to patriarchal authority in French society. De Beauvoir wrote of the promise of equality, fraternity and liberty for all in The Second Sex. Violette, her protégé, becomes part of this promise.
They had met during the war in 1942. Violette had come to Simone with a manuscript. We see this early on in the film. Simone is wary at first, having already in her day seen too many dreary manuscripts from would-be writers. But this one is different. Its voice is authentic, its poetry uncontrived. The writer has suffered and shows what suffering has done to her and others. Simone is impressed. She takes Violette under her wing, helps get the manuscript published. It becomes Violette's first book, the novel L'Asphyxie (In the Prison of Her Skin), and is highly praised by reviewers and other writers. Although solitary by nature and inclination, Violette becomes part of Simone's intellectual circle, mixing with the great French literary minds of the day.
Success helps ease her financial worries but not her emotional ones. Her past was stormy. Born to a servant girl in Arras in 1907, she never knew her father. We see the mother in the film, a strange mixture of hostility and over protectiveness. Violette is adult now and lives in Paris. Her mother frequently visits her there. But Violette is a failure, can do nothing right to please her mother. This is the meta-message and has been so from Mum throughout Violette's turbulent life. The daughter's lack of self-confidence and her low self-esteem are a lifelong burden, her writing a release and expression of it.
Simone is patient and generous with Violette. She does what she can financially and emotionally for her and always encourages her art. One great encouragement is for Violette to leave the capital. Simone suggests Provence, a different kind of France, a warm, sunny, expansive one. Violette goes and blossoms there. She writes. The words come easily to her in such a peaceful and bucolic setting. We see her, almost always alone, in forests, meadows, mountains and along lake shores. The result is Ravages, a novel about a same-sex love affair, in part autobiographical. The book is intimate, erotic, poetic. But also scandalous, or potentially so, the sexually explicit passages removed by the publisher. The year is 1955. Eleven years later the censored part of the novel was published as the novella Therese and Isabelle. Two years later, in 1968, the novella was made into a film of the same name. So in the end she won, forcing France to accept the fact that same-sex sexuality exists between some women and that it can be portrayed honestly, openly, lovingly.
Martin Provost, the film's director, tells the story unsentimentally. He seems fearless in his sensitivity. He wants honesty to illuminate his film. In Emmanuelle Devos as Violette and Sandrine Kiberlain as Simone he has found women to fulfill his vision. They are truly magnificent actresses.
As some reviewers have noted, the film is slow and meticulous. It must be watched perceptively, intelligently. It is not an entertainment. It is an education and inspiration. Provost has the mind of an artist, as all great filmmakers do, so he sees the world poetically. The lyrical qualities of his cinematography are especially present in the scenes of country life in Provence. His colours invite you into that world. They are warm and comforting. We feel how Vilolette must have felt there.
She was a country girl from Arras in the north near Picardy, made her career as a writer in Paris, but wrote most expressively in Provence. She died in the parish of Faucon in the Vaucluse region there in 1972 at the age of 65. If the names of French female novelists such as Marguerite Duras and Nathalie Sarraute are well known today, it is partly because Vilolette Leduc helped open the way forward for them. The world is a better place because of the presence of Violette's books in it. This beautiful and remarkable film pays tribute to this truth.