46 of 49 people found the following review helpful
"He wanted to paint me because he loved me. He stopped painting me because he loved me",
This review is from: La Belle Noiseuse [DVD]   (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. What is important, then? In my opinion, the director wants to show us the process of creation through the eyes of an artist and his model, and the hard choices that sometimes must sometimes be made in order to create a real work of art. Is it worth it? And how much of himself and others should the artist be willing to risk? Those are, from my point of view, the real questions that "La Belle Noiseuse" makes you ask yourself.
On the whole, I can say that I really liked this film, but that I don't recommend it for everybody. If you are just looking for an engaging movie that will entertaing you and make you laugh, "La Belle Noiseuse" is not for you. On the other hand, if you are in the mood for a relatively little known jewel that will amaze and disturb you, making you think, watch this dvd.