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, which was directed by photographer David Hamilton and whose music score was composed by composer Francis Lai. It starred Patti D'Arbanville and Mona Kristensen, Hamilton's first wife, as the title characters Bilitis and Melissa respectively.

The film was 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 were 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 lesbian 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 that she is not yet ready for adulthood.


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

Companion book[edit]

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


  • Patti D'Arbanville as Bilitis
  • Mona Kristensen as Melissa
  • Bernard Giraudeau as Lucas
  • Gilles Kohler as Pierre
  • Mathieu Carrière as Nikias
  • 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]