A Woman's Life

A Woman's Life

Downloadable Video - 2017
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Adapted from the novel Une vie by Guy de Maupassant, A Woman's Life is a tale of tormented love embedded in the restrictive social and moral codes of marriage and family in 19th century Normandy. Upon finishing her schooling in a convent, young aristocrat Jeanne (Judith Chemla) marries local Viscount Julien de Lamare (Swann Arlaud), who soon reveals himself to be a miserly and unfaithful husband. As she navigates his chronic infidelity, pressure from her family and community, and the alternating joys and burdens of motherhood, Jeanne's rosy illusions about her privileged world are slowly stripped away. French filmmaker Sťphane Briž shoots this follow-up to his Cannes and Cšar Award winner The Measure of a Man in constricted 4:3 Academy ratio, creating a tightly composed work that perfectly translates de Maupassant's portrayal of life's indifferences.
Publisher: [United States] : Kino Lorber, Inc., 2017
Branch Call Number: eVideo hoopla
Characteristics: 1 online resource (1 video file (approximately 119 min.)) : sd., col
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Mar 31, 2018

Pretty big downer. Watched it to work on my French and it was perfect for that.

Feb 20, 2018

While pretty to watch, very slow moving scenes about the unfortunate life of a French heiress surrounded by treacherous people, of course mostly men, and her unwillingness or inability to free herself of the moral code in 19th century Normandy. Not a compelling period story other than the debate on the sin of lying and moral obligation to withhold information.

But the critics love it:

6.7/10 IMDb
80% Rotten Tomatoes
74% Metacritic
2/4 RogerEbert

Nov 12, 2017

Adapted from a 19th century French novel by Guy de Maupassant tells the story of a woman whose life is not always so rosy. The last line in the film was once sent to Maupassant by novelist Gustave Flaubert when Maupassant was having an especially impossible time writing his latest novel. Director Stephane Brize explains in an excellent bonus feature how he changed the presentation to enable himself to include the most important elements of the novel in the short span of a 2 hour film.


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Feb 20, 2018

You see, my lady, life is never as good or as bad as you think.
I do not come for succor from the ill of infatuation of which you make me die. Rather to guard this world and lend it potency, virtue, force and power since it is in infancy, puny, lacking effect and maturity, through failure to sense our divinity. Since the spring, dainty and virile, loves the earth in vain, the earth is infertile. What good are the flowers if the fruit does not ripen? What good is the wheat if the grain is not golden? All things have an end and tend toward some aim. Destiny intended it so when the world was ordered as it is. Such is the convention of nature and God by fatal prescription.
Man's salvation lies in forgiveness.

Feb 20, 2018

I cannot... act... and provoke... a disaster.
-Do you imagine for a single second that this detestable affair will end of its own accord? The blemish of sin that soils you too, and your household,
including your loved ones. Your child. You plan to raise him in this... putrid air? You condemn him. You kill him little by little. If you withdraw, you consent... to this lie.
Father, I...
-You give too much to your feelings.
You are wrong. I know that if I tell Lord de Fourville the truth, his pain will be too immense. He will suffer. Undoubtedly.
-But lying is a greater evil.
Please, Father. I know he's not able to hear it. I know. Because he loves his wife. Because it's inconceivable for him. He cannot imagine such a thing. He's a man of great... Of great purity. I cannot be the person who... Who makes his whole world collapse.
-So you place sin above truth. And God's honor is thereby wounded. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, one last time... will you tell the truth?
No, Father.


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