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1,006 Ratings

La Belle Noiseuse

Directed by Jacques Rivette
France, Switzerland, 1991


A middle-aged painter, Edouard Frenhofer (Michel Piccoli), now living quietly, is encouraged by his young protégé to complete a long-abandoned portrait, using the young artist’s girlfriend, Marianne (Emmanuelle Béart), as his model. Questions about truth, life, and artistic limits are explored.

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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 revelations of La Belle Noiseuse are decidedly obvious and small, and rendered nearly insignificant by the ill-fitting actions of the peripheral characters whose petty problems (arising from the actors’ own improvisations) offer a less-than-satisfying counterpoint to Frenhoffer’s intense and invasive creative process.
November 06, 2006
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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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