La Belle Noiseuse

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La Belle Noiseuse
Belle noiseuse.jpg
Region 1 DVD cover
Directed by Jacques Rivette
Written by Pascal Bonitzer
Christine Laurent
Jacques Rivette
Based on Le Chef-d'œuvre inconnu
by Honoré de Balzac
Starring Michel Piccoli
Jane Birkin
Emmanuelle Béart
Marianne Denicourt
Music by Igor Stravinsky
Cinematography William Lubtchansky
Edited by Nicole Lubtchansky
Pierre Grise Productions
Release date
  • 4 September 1991 (1991-09-04)
Running time
237 minutes
Country France
Language French / English

La Belle Noiseuse is a 1991 film directed by Jacques Rivette and starring Michel Piccoli, Jane Birkin, and Emmanuelle Béart. Its title means "The Beautiful Troublemaker".

The film is loosely adapted from the short story The Unknown Masterpiece by Honoré de Balzac and also includes elements from The Liar, The Figure in the Carpet, and The Aspern Papers by Henry James.[1]


A reclusive famous painter, Frenhofer (Piccoli), lives quietly with his wife and former model (Birkin) in a rambling château in rural Languedoc-Roussillon. When a young artist visits him with his girlfriend, Marianne (Béart), Frenhofer is inspired to commence work once more on a painting he long ago abandoned—La Belle Noiseuse—using Marianne as his model. The film painstakingly explores Frenhofer's creative rebirth. It uses lengthy real-time takes of the artist's hand (provided by Bernard Dufour) working on paper and canvas.


The film won the Grand Prix at the 1991 Cannes Film Festival.[2]

The film had a good critical reception, and occasioned much comment on Béart's extensive onscreen nudity and director Rivette's characteristic use of a long running time (in this case, roughly four hours).

Chicago Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert added the film to his Great Movies collection in April 2009.[3]

Alternative version

Rivette used alternative takes from the film and made changes in the scene order to produce a shorter, 125-minute version, La Belle Noiseuse: Divertimento, for television. It was also released theatrically in some countries.



  1. ^
  2. ^ "Festival de Cannes: La Belle Noiseuse". Retrieved 2009-08-09. 
  3. ^ "La Belle Noiseuse (1991)". Chicago Sun-Times. 

Further reading

External links

  • La Belle Noiseuse on IMDb
  • Divertimento on IMDb
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