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1,348 Ratings

La Belle Noiseuse

Directed by Jacques Rivette
France, Switzerland, 1991


Frenhofer, a famous but long inactive painter, has sequestered himself in a country chateau with his wife Liz, a taxidermist nursing her own secret hurt. When he meets Marianne, the sullen girlfriend of a young acolyte, Frenhofer finds his creative impulse suddenly renewed.

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La Belle Noiseuse Directed by Jacques Rivette

Awards & Festivals

Cannes Film Festival

1991 | Winner: Grand Prize of the Jury

1991 | Special Mention: Prize of the Ecumenical Jury

1991 | Nominee: Palme d’Or

It’s the Jacques Rivette movie for people who can’t stand Jacques Rivette movies — and yet no one else could’ve made it . . . Perhaps Rivette was being cunning in front-loading his epic (which it is, though perfectly typical on a Rivettian scale) with so much explicitly erotic context. But in its own way this sensual, granular experience is just as pure and obsessive as Rivette’s less hospitable masterpieces, and almost as mysterious.
November 24, 2017
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The end result of Piccoli and Béart’s labor may ultimately elicit shrugs—the title of Balzac’s story could refer to a hidden gem, or to a work that some might not know as a masterpiece—but getting there takes extraordinary effort. A cynic might liken the experience to watching paint dry, but the insistent scrape of Piccoli’s ink pen and the whoosh of his brushes (both wielded by real figurative artist Bernard Dufour) are alive with creative tension and conflict.
July 06, 2004
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From the lyrical opening sequence of Nicolas and Marianne’s staged seduction, Jacques Rivette uses his distinctive, recurring narrative device of performance within a performance in order to illustrate the film’s theme, not only of the social propensity to create insulating (and protective), emotional adaptation through masquerade and façades, but also the revelatory nature of art that results from passion, diligence, focus, sacrifice, and abandonment of fear and inhibition.
January 01, 2004
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