LA BELLE NOISEUSE
Monday, March 19
(1991, Jacques Rivette) Ten years after burning out on his greatest work, a nude of his wife and favorite model Jane Birkin, reclusive artist Piccoli finds inspiration again with Emmanuelle Béart. Palme D’Or, Cannes. DCP. Approx 240 min.
“REMARKABLE. La Belle Noiseuse is a sustained power struggle, albeit artistic rather than romantic; the painter brusquely bends the model into various pretzel-inspired poses, treating her like an object whose personal needs are an imposition, while she struggles first to accept unaccustomed passivity and then to impose her own will upon the project. Both actors are magnificent, and it’s a testament to their skill that the omnipresent one-sided nudity eventually seems irrelevant, even as it continues to underscore an inherently unbalanced professional relationship. Close-ups of the artist’s hands at work (frequently playing uninterrupted for several minutes at a time) employ a real painter, but Piccoli convincingly suggests the same talent in wider shots. More crucially, he captures an artist’s monomaniacal temperament, without ever breaking a sweat.”
– Mike D’Angelo, The Village Voice
“The best film I have ever seen about the physical creation of art.”
– Roger Ebert