Bilitis (film)

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Directed by David Hamilton
Produced by Sylvio Tabet
Malcolm J. Thomson
Written by Robert Boussinot
Catherine Breillat
Jacques Nahum
Pierre Louÿs (poem cycle)
Starring Patti D'Arbanville
Music by Francis Lai
Release dates
  • 16 March 1977 (1977-03-16)
Running time
95 minutes
Country France
Language French

Bilitis is a 1977 French romantic drama film directed by photographer David Hamilton with film score by composer Francis Lai. It stars Patti D'Arbanville and Mona Kristensen, Hamilton's first wife, as the title characters Bilitis and Melissa respectively.

The film is loosely based on a poem cycle by Pierre Louÿs entitled The Songs of Bilitis set in ancient Greece, although the film is set in modern Europe. The poems are meant to be autobiographical poems by the title character.[1]


A teenage schoolgirl spends the summer with a couple whose marriage is on the rocks and develops a crush on the wife. Meanwhile, she pursues a local teenage boy and tries to find a "suitable male lover" for the wife.[2]

Although Bilitis can be best described as a coming of age film, the title character, Bilitis, ends up returning to school at the end of the film, realizing she is not yet ready for adulthood.


The film is shot in the same soft focus style that is common of David Hamilton's photography and his other films.

Companion book[edit]

In 1977, Hamilton released a photobook, Bilitis, which includes the most memorable images from the film.


  • Patti D'Arbanville as Bilitis
  • Mona Kristensen as Melissa
  • Bernard Giraudeau as Lucas
  • Mathieu Carrière as Nikias
  • Gilles Kohler as Pierre
  • Irka Bochenko as Prudence
  • Jacqueline Fontaine as Head Mistress
  • Marie-Thérèse Caumont as Sub-Principal
  • Germaine Delbat as Principal
  • Madeleine Damien as Nanny
  • Camille Larivière as Susy
  • Catherine Leprince as Helen


  1. ^ Louÿs' work is credited in the film and soundtrack album and the book about the film.
  2. ^ "Bilitis (1977)". Retrieved December 20, 2012. 

External links[edit]