Le Bal

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For the 1983 French film, see Le Bal (film).
For the Parisian fashion event, see Le Bal des Débutantes.
Le Bal
Author Irène Némirovsky
Country France
Language French
Genre Novella
Publication date
Media type Print

Le Bal is the title of collection of 2 novellas written by Irène Némirovsky. Published in France in 1930, it has been recently re-issued, due to the increasing interest in and popularity of the author's work, following the discovery and publication of Suite Française.

Le Bal is a short novella about a German Jewish family living in Paris; Snow in Autumn is a poignant tale of Russian emigres fleeing to France following the Bolshevik Revolution.

It was made into films in 1931.

Le Bal[edit]

Le Bal was made into a film when first published. It tells the story of a young girl, Antoinette Kampf, who lives with her parents in an opulent apartment in Paris. It wasn't always like this; the father had to work hard to amass his fortune, but he was determined to succeed. She has a difficult relationship with her mother, Rosine. Rosine has had a rather shady past, and is equally as determined as her husband to be "accepted" into French high society. To this end they plan a Ball. They invite all the titled and the rich of Paris, they spend fortunes on the food, music, and champagne. For Rosine, all must be perfect. The daughter is thrilled at the prospect; however, her mother has no intention of letting her go to the Ball. Antoinette feels betrayed by her mother, and by her Governess, Miss Betty, who is seeing a young man secretly. Finally, Antoinette makes a decision that will wreak a terrible revenge upon her mother.

Snow in Autumn[edit]

Snow in Autumn is told through the eyes of the faithful old maid of a White Russian family. She has nursed all the children through the years, and now, with a heavy heart, she sees the youngest male members of the family leave to fight in the Great War.

Following the revolution, she stays in the house, and awaits the family's return. However, they flee to Paris, except the youngest, who, on his return to the old family home is shot dead by his former friend. Traumatised, Tatiana must join the family in Paris to tell them of the son's death. She stays on with them, but she, unlike the younger members of the family, cannot adapt to the cramped and poverty-stricken life they lead there. She becomes sad and introspective, longing for the cold, icy winters of Russia. It is a poignant tale, made more resonant by the fact that Nemirovsky herself had to flee Russia with her family.

Le Bal
Danielle Darriuex in Le Bal .jpg
Directed by Wilhelm Thiele
Produced by Charles Delac
Marcel Vandal
Simon Schiffrin
(line producer)
Music by Werner R. Heymann
Cinematography Nicolas Farkas
Armand Thirard
Les Films Marcel Vandal et Charles Delac
Distributed by Protex Pictures Corporation (USA, 1932)
Release dates
11 September 1931
Running time
75 min
Country France
Language French


It was the basis for the 1931 comedy drama film directed by Wilhelm Thiele, and written by Curt Siodmak, Ladislas Fodor and Henry Falk (dialogue). Its German language version has been filmed simultaneously as Der Ball with different cast.


  • Germaine Dermoz as Madame Kampf
  • Danielle Darrieux as Antoinette
  • André Lefaur as M. Kampf
  • Pierre de Guingand as Marcel de Brécourt
  • Marguerite Pierry as La cousine Henriette
  • Allan Durant
  • Vanda Gréville as Miss Betty
  • Paulette Dubost as La cliente

External links[edit]