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42. La Lectrice
The Reader

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La Lectrice is a whimsical - some might say bizarre - French film. An acquired taste and probably best suited for those already appreciative of French cinema.

In bed with her husband, Constance (Miou-Miou) reads the novel called "La Lectrice" "The Reader" - a clue to the spiral of self reference to come.. She likes the idea of becoming a professional reader herself, and puts a small ad in the local newspaper. The newspaper man is aware, as she is not, of the possible complications to come.

She reads the novel each night to her husband and likes it so much that she ends up identifying with the heroine of the book, Marie. We see Miou-Miou as both Constance the reader and Marie the reader that Constance is reading about.

Constance / Marie has a jolie voix (attractive voice), a passion of reading, and a numinous presence that makes people happy. The story provides Miou-Miou with the opportunity to find one of her very best roles and she offers a delightful persona.

The whole thing is wonderfully French and depends heavily an the viewers familiarity with French and world literature. Clients include the aging Hungarian widow of a general (Maria Cazares) who selects her favorite passages from the works of Marx and Lenin. Another is a disabled teenager called Eric (Regis Royer) suffering from his emerging sexuality wants her to read Maupassant and Baudelaire to him,. Another is a businessman (Patrick Chesnais) with no time to read and just wants a summary of great literature. Another is a young girl (Charlotte Farran) whose mother is too busy to read to her and who likes Alice In Wonderland. Yet another is a judge with a taste for erotic literature, including the Marquis de Sade. Other authors include Marguerite Duras and Tolstoy, In each case personal relationships compromise her role as a professional reader. Her clients all turn out to be seeking a little more than the solace of literature, and her sunny nature works a transformation on each of them.

According to taste viewres might find parts of the film erotic - from Baudalaire's golden braid of hair to de Sade's 120 Days of Sodom - an extract from which appears on the film poster for the French version.

The film is set in Arles which provides a picturesque backdrop to her ambling from client to client and others including a doctor, a policeman and her old tutor. The town's authorities become increasingly suspicious of her new profession and the effect it seems to be having on some of her clients. The lives of Constance and Marie become so merged, that it is hard to distinguish what is real and what is fantasy.

The Director, Deville explores themes that cover cinema as well as literature, providing more opportunities for reference and self reference There are multiple layers to the story, and actors play multiple parts. La Lectrice , released in 1988, is based on Raymond Jean's novel "La Lectrice".

Another good element classical music used mainly as our heroine walks down the streets of Arles between her reading appointments. The music (by Beethoven) gives the movie an impression of lightness and well-being, and reflects the joy of life..

 

Awards

César Awards (France): Won: Best Actor – Supporting Role (Patrick Chesnais)

1988 Grand Prix des Amériques: Michel Deville

1988 Prix Louis Delluc : Michel Deville

Genre
 

Comedy, Erotic Drama

Directed by
 

Michel Deville

Produced by
 

RosalindeDeville

Written by
 

Michel Deville
Rosalinde Deville

Staring
 

Miou-Miou
Régis Royer
Maria Casarès
Patrick Chesnaish

Music by
 

Ludwig van Beethoven

Release date
 

17 August 1988

Running time
 

97 min

Country
 

France

Language
 

French

 

 

CAST

 

...

Miou-Miou
 

Constance / Marie..

Régis Royer
 

Eric

María Casares
 

General's Widow

Patrick Chesnais
 

Company Director

Pierre Dux
 

Magistrate

Christian Ruché
 

Jean / Philippe

Brigitte Catillon
 

Eric's Mother

Marianne Denicourt
 

.Bella

Charlotte Farran
 

Coralie

Clotilde de Bayser
 

Coralie's Mother

Jean-Luc Boutté
 

Police Inspector

Simon Eine.
 

Hospital Professor

Maria de Medeiros
 

L'infirmière muette

André Wilms
 

Man in Rue Saint-Landry

Bérangère Bonvoisin
 

Joel's Mother

Sylvie Laporte
 

Françoise

Léo Campion
 

Le grand-père

Hito Jaulmes
 

L'Ami d'Eric

Michel Raskine
 

Man at Agency

sabelle Janier
 

.L'infirmière bavarde

Sylvie Jean
 

La secrétaire de l'agence

Gabriel Barakian
 

Le mari de Jocelyne

Christian Blanc
 

Marie's Tutor











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