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La Belle Noiseuse [DVD] [1991]

4.3 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Michel Piccoli, Jane Birkin, Emmanuelle Béart, Gilles Arbona, David Bursztein
  • Directors: Jacques Rivette
  • Producers: Pierre Grise
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: French
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Artificial Eye
  • DVD Release Date: 21 Sept. 2009
  • Run Time: 229 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 99,747 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
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Product description

Product Description

Young artist Nicolas and his writer mistress Marianne meet a famous painter, Frenhofer, who is persuaded to start work again 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 are irreversibly altered.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Excellent edition, good value DVD - the film is well over 3 hours, divided into 2 parts on 2 discs plus extras (interviews etc). Shame they couldn't add the apparently radically different shorter version of the film to the package though.

I saw La Belle Noiseuse at cinema when it came out & thought it a very clichéd view of artist and muse, the whole thing almost a parody of French art house movies. But watching the DVD has changed my opinion.

Having seen a few Rivette's recently I now understand how he sets up a deliberately theatrical situation, a conceit, out of which improvisation evolves. This film is actually about time, ageing, death - themes manifested in the pace of the film, which is slow but shifting & always intriguing. The artist & muse angle is really about how we secretly see our lives as obsessive "projects" working towards something mysterious (involving love). The central relationship is not genius artist & beautiful muse but ageing husband & wife - Jane Birkin steals the film with an incredible performance & Piccoli's performance is more complex/sympathetic that it might initially seem. With all due respect to the bravery of Beart's performance I still think her character (& boyfriend) superficial.

Basically, if you are allergic to long slow French movies avoid this, but if are an old school French film fan then this is a latter-day classic & well worth getting on DVD.
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Format: DVD
La Belle Noiseuse is a film about the possibilities as well as the ruthlessness of art. The ageing painter Frenhofer (Michel Piccoli) has been living a more or less inactive life for a long time, not because his talent has actually become stale but because of a lack of courage to achieve his potential. Ten years ago he was about to do so; using his wife Liz (Jane Birkin) as his model he began working on a portrait which he soon abandoned because of an instinctive sense of the dangers involved. The thing is that a painting, if it really is an ultimately true work of art, also presents the true character of what it depicts, and such a revelation is not for everyone to bear. I think someone once said that if we knew the true nature of our own selves we should be terrified, and that's also the claim of this film.
Now Frenhofer decides to try again with a new model, Marianne (Emmanuelle Béart), the girlfriend of a young painter, Nicolas (David Bursztein), who has come to visit the old master. Marianne is nagged by a sense of dependence on Nicolas and by a half-conscious urge to break free from the feeling of leading a shadow existence. Posing for Frenhofer seems to offer some kind of opportunity, although her irritation is increased by the fact that Nicolas has taken it upon himself to arrange this with Frenhofer without asking her. However, after a somewhat tense beginning she becomes more and more engaged in the project, especially when she realizes that Frenhofer is little more master of the situation than she herself is, and that the success of their collaboration depends on her as well as on him.
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Format: DVD
"La Belle Noiseuse", directed by Jacques Rivette, is a splendid albeit admittedly extremely long film that manages to make the spectator understand the possibilities and dangers that are distinctive of art. An extremely good painter can bare the soul of his subject, but that is not always a good thing, specially if the artist's ruthless eye concentrates on the worse moral traits of his model. When is it time to stop? And can a real artist betray himself and his art and not paint what he is seeing?

That is the problem Edouard Frenhofer (Michel Piccoli) faced, when he had to choose between his art and his wife. Frenhofer, an extremely famous artist, decided to stop painting a portrait called "La Belle Noiseuse", because he knew that his model, his wife Liz (Jane Birkin), would hate the results. According to Liz, "He wanted to paint me because he loved me. He stopped painting me because he loved me".

Many years later, Frenhofer gets another chance to finish his painting, thanks to the visit of an admirer, a young painter named Nicolas (David Bursztein). Nicolas suggests that his beautiful girlfriend, Marianne (Emmanuelle Béart), could be the new nude model for "La Belle Noiseuse". Frenhofer loves the idea, as does Liz. Even Marianne, mad at first at Nicolas for his suggestion, ends up embracing the challenge. However, as days go by and Frenhofer and Marianne become immersed in a world of their own, Nicolas and Liz start to feel restless, abandoned. They know that the new painting will make a difference, and that things will never be the same between them and their loved ones. But can they do something? And will it be enough?

Of course, the answers to those questions don't really matter, and you will discover them soon enough if you watch this film.
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Format: VHS Tape
When Emmanuelle Beart was asked about this film, she stated "I bared more than my behind, I bore my soul", and it is this statement that reveals most about this fascinating film. True, Beart does spend the majority of the film naked, but it is also true that this performance reveals a depth that she had previously only hinted at in her performance in "Manon des Sources" opposite Daniel Auteuil. In this film, Beart plays the model for the old and jaded Michel Piccoli. The paintings he creates from her sittings show the angst in his personal life with his wife, played here by Jane Birkin. All in all, this should be seen to be believed.
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