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 Stéphane Brizé shoots this follow-up to his Cannes and César 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.
Films set at any point in that vast stretch of time that we call “history” tend to seem all the more irreducibly distant from us. That’s why it seems so miraculous that Stéphane Brizé’s A Woman’s Life, set in 19th-century France, feels very much as if it’s happening in the present tense. Here’s a rare period drama that contrives to minimize the gap between its events and our experience of watching them. –Film Comment
Fri and Sat, July 14 and 15
Chasing Trane: John Coltrane 6:45 @ IU Fine Arts Upstairs
A Woman’s Life 7:15 @ IU Fine Arts Downstairs
Slack Bay 8:35 @ IU Fine Arts Upstairs
Sun, July 16
Chasing Trane: John Coltrane 5:30 @ Bear’s Place – Last Chance!
Slack Bay 7:45 @ Bear’s Place – Last Chance!
Fri and Sat, July 21 and 22
A Woman’s Life 7:30 @ IU Fine Arts Upstairs
Stay tuned for more screenings