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La Belle Noiseuse

La Belle Noiseuse (1991)



Average Rating: 8/10
Critic Reviews: 8
Fresh: 8 | Rotten: 0

No consensus yet.



liked it
Average Rating: 4/5
User Ratings: 2,769

My Rating

Movie Info

In this fascinating and unconventional examination of the creative process, an artist near the end of his career finds new inspiration in a young model. Edouard Frenhofer (Michel Piccoli) is a famous and well-respected artist who lives in a comfortable estate in the French countryside. At the age of 60, Frenhofer considers his career as a painter to be over; he says he no longer feels any inspiration to create, and his last attempt at a major work, a nude study of his wife Liz (Jane Birkin)

Jul 6, 2004

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All Critics (23) | Top Critics (8) | Fresh (23) | Rotten (0) | DVD (5)

Rivette's superb sense of rhythm and mise en scene never falters, and the plot has plenty of twists.

November 12, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

As impeccably shot as its subject deserves, the film is more accessible than most of Rivette's work, with characteristically playful passing nods to the relationship between life and performance.

January 26, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Hypnotically beautiful.

August 30, 2004 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Some movies are worlds that we can sink into, and La Belle Noiseuse is one of them.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The underlying ideas may be a little droopy, but they're staged in such exacting, private terms that they are redeemed.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

What's good about the film is the sense of real evolution, of believable character change, instead of the Speedy Gonzalez transformations movie characters usually experience. What's also good is a realistic feel for the act of creation.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Like all great works of art, the film has a purity of line and structure as it plays out its theme.

November 12, 2007 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Jacques Rivette's much praised Cannes Grand Prize winner vacillates between genuine insight and didactic mystique-of-the-artist bull****.

November 6, 2006 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

I won't explain what happens with the masterpiece; even at four hours, the film cooks up a certain amount of suspense and surprise.

September 27, 2004 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

In this molasses-slow four-hour drama, Jacques Rivette proves that he's got an understanding of fine art, but a minimal one of the art of movies.

September 19, 2004 Full Review Source:

One of the best movies about painting.

July 15, 2004

The characters are unsympathetic, the circumstances are hard to relate to, the dialogue is laboured and the running time brutal. But there is also a surfeit of intelligence and beauty (in technical filmmaking terms) in Rivette's difficult film.

September 16, 2003 Full Review Source: Film4

A four-hour French masterpiece about the creative process of an artist

July 19, 2003 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

By methodically examining the rigors and contemplation that go into creating great art, French New Wave master Jacques Rivette, has created something of a masterpiece himself.

June 27, 2002 Full Review Source:

Obviously, the film is aimed at a fairly narrow audience -- primarily the art community. But the passion felt during those painting-and-posing sequences reaches a much broader spectrum.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

Now that's why we go to movies.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

Rivette is a quality director who has the skills and knowledge to tell such a non-action story and never allow the story to be anything but an honest intellectual effort.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for La Belle Noiseuse

La Belle Nosieuse is fours long, slow moving and mezmerizing. I wish I knew how Jacques Rivette pulls that off. The story of a blocked elderly genius artist Frenhofer (Michelle Piccoli) who is brought back to creative life by a young fiery woman Marianne (Emmanuelle Beart in her second movie) who becomes his model and muse. Marianne is the partner of a much young artist, and their relationship changes for the worse when she commits body and soul to modeling for the old guy. The gorgeous Beart is naked for much of the film, and though she's beyond stunning, somehow it's not as hot as you would imagine, just interesting. PIccoli's loyal wife and former model (Jane Birkin) is no longer inspiring him, so she's devastated yet empathetic, making her the perfect wife for an artist.

The film touches on lots of rich emotional ground, about the evolving nature of long relationships, youthful artistic vision vs. autumnal artistic closure, the creative process and its volatility and the toll that art takes on love. Huge long sequences that feel almost 'real time' show the artist sketching in long drawn out shots, with the intense sound of a scratching pen and shots of Beart straining in a series of excruciating poses. These moments are utterly engrossing and take a large bulk of the film's running time, depicting an endlessly complex collaboration between artist and model, Piccoli and Beart are totally committed to their roles and boundlessly interesting throughout. The twists and turns of their relationship are riveting or Rivette-ing.

Rivette doesn't even show the final painting to the audience, (though the model and the wife see it, their reactions are unforgettable) and it didn't annoy me! It's almost too sacred to show. This snail's paced film will not appeal to everyone, it lacks the thrills per minute of The Avengers, and is even more slow paced than lugubrious flicks like Melacholia and The Tree of Life. However, if you're into thinking about art and you've got four hours to spare, your patience will be richly rewarded. Noiseuse is one of the crown jewels of the French cinema.
May 9, 2012
Josh Morris

Super Reviewer

Action? None. Plot? No. Dialogue? Not much. And yet, I found it fascinating to watch the creative process. I enjoyed watching the two main characters interact. As Edouard (Piccoli) exerted his will over Marianne (Beart), and her resistance gave way to entering into the collaborative process, then Edouard also became more inspired and began to demand more of Marianne. And yes, that Emmanuelle Beart was nude for long stretches more than made up for the weakness of the script. Scenery? Ahhhh!
October 4, 2008
Mark Abell

Super Reviewer

[font=Century Gothic]"La Belle Noiseuse" and "L'Enfer" are two French movies starring Emmanuelle Beart, directed by two very different directors who emerged from the French new wave, Jacques Rivette and Claude Chabrol, respectively.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic][color=blue]"La Belle Noiseuse" starts out with a young artist and his wife, Marianne(Beart) visiting legendary artist, Frenhofer(Michel Piccoli), in the countryside. Frenhofer mentions a long abandoned project - La Belle Noiseuse, a painting of a 17th century courtesan. The young painter, Nicolas, offers his wife as a model without asking her. This of course angers her to no end but nonetheless she returns to pose the following morning. [/color][/font]
[font=Century Gothic][color=blue][/color][/font]
[font=Century Gothic][color=blue]I liked "La Belle Noiseuse" in that it tries to convey the artist-model relationship and how it evolved as the painting continued. It is a beautiful looking film and I especially liked it when it got both artist and model in the same frame. It also examined the relationship of an artist to his/her spouse and how self-involved the artist can get. So much so, that the spouse needs to find an individual life. Frenhofer's wife(Jane Birkin) seems to have a thriving taxidermy hobby on the side and Marianne may have found a path by the end of the movie. Emmanuelle Beart gives a very courageous performance.[/color][/font]
[font=Century Gothic][color=#0000ff][/color][/font]
[font=Century Gothic][color=red][/color][/font]
[font=Century Gothic][color=red]"L'Enfer" starts out with the marriage between a happy young couple, Paul(Francois Cluzet, who reminded me of a young Robert DeNiro) and Nelly(Emmanuelle Beart). Paul is the owner of a thriving resort hotel but the stress and lack of sleep is driving him to become very, very jealous of his wife. What we see is from Paul's point of view and thus we get to see his growing madness but I do not like the idea that madness can be used as an excuse for Paul's abusive behavior. By abusive, I mean that he tries to control Nelly's movements and I find that rather unpleasant. Plus, this is a shoddily shot movie.[/color][/font]
March 28, 2005
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

An absolutely fascinating look at an artist inspired by beautiful woman to deliver more art when the muse is not quite ready to be as museful as he might like.
May 2, 2013
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

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