Filmatique |

A Woman's Life

// Presented as part of Filmatique's French Art House Series //

Spotlight on A Woman's Life (Un Vie)

Exclusive Essay: Une Vie (A Woman's Life): Stéphane Brizé versus Passive Existence




Stéphane Brizé / 2016, Venice, BAFICI, BFI London, Busan, Dublin French Film Festival, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Jerusalem, Karlovy Vary, Moscow, Munich, Stockholm, Transilvania, Tübingen / 119'


Raised amid the sun-dappled countryside of Normandy, young aristocrat Jeanne meets and soon enters into marriage with the spirited Viscount Julien de Lamare. Before long, however, Julien is off chasing local women while squandering their fortune on drinking and gambling—likewise, motherhood provides Jeanne only the barest of comforts. As she navigates her isolation, the social pressures of her elevated status and a series of men who bring her nothing but grief, the illusions of Jeanne's privilege quickly dissolve.


At once gauzy and desolate, radiant and shadowed, Stéphane Brizé's seventh feature adapts Guy de Maupassant's novel to reveal in quotidian gestures the stark reality of life as a woman in twentieth-century France. Une Vie (A Woman's Life) premiered at BFI London, Busan, Karlovy Vary, Stockholm, and Venice, where it won the FIPRESCI Prize. The film was also awarded the Louis Delluc Prize for Best Film, and is a New York Times Critics' Pick.



"A moving, beautifully modulated adaptation of Guy de Maupassant's novel, in which a young noblewoman copes with the loss of ideals… A Woman's Life has the kind of majesty found not in the grand gesture but the modest detail, the kind that accumulates resonance with each seemingly minor event until the picture of a character becomes as complete as a painting by Ingres"

- Jay Weissberg, Venice Review, Variety