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Ciné : Thérèse Desqueyroux
François Mauriac’s acclaimed novel of French provincial life has been gloriously brought to the screen by the inestimable Claude Miller, who passed away shortly after completing the film. Audrey Tautou stars as a provincial housewife in 1920s France, whose suffocating marriage inspires her to a fatal bid for freedom.
Thérèse has married less for love than for convenience, and boorish landowner husband Bernard (Gilles Lellouche) is more interested in his dogs and the hunt than in attending to the wishes and needs of his young bride. When Thérèse’s best friend Anne (Anaïs Demoustier), who also happens to be Bernard’s younger sister, falls madly in love with a handsome young Portuguese man, Thérèse begins to see what she has been missing in her life. Corralled by Bernard’s family into persuading Anne to forego her planned nuptials, she begins to see first-hand the awesome power of passionate love, as Anne will go to any length to keep her lover by her side. Soon, Thérèse begins her own fight against the oppressive Desqueyroux family.
Miller makes the novel fully his own, floating his camera through the refined and cushioned rooms of the family’s estate and the magnificent outdoor vistas of the Landes countryside, capturing all the nuances of this battle of wills. But, finally, the film belongs to Tautou, who conveys all the inflections of hurt and pain, love and sorrow, demanded of her.
- Claude Miller
- France 2012
- 110 minutes
- Rated 12A – Contains moderate sex
- Cast: Audrey Tautou, Gilles Lellouche, Anaïs Demoustier, Catherine Arditi, Isabelle Sadoyan.
French with English subtitles