The Beautiful Person

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The Beautiful Person
The Beautiful Person poster.jpg
La Belle Personne
Directed by Christophe Honoré
Produced by Sophie Barrat
Florence Dormoy
Joëy Faré
Screenplay by Christophe Honoré
Gilles Taurand
Based on La Princesse de Clèves
by Madame de La Fayette
Starring Louis Garrel
Léa Seydoux
Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet
Music by Alex Beaupain
Cinematography Laurent Brunet
Edited by Chantal Hymans
Release date
  • 10 September 2008 (2008-09-10) (San Sebastián)
  • 12 September 2008 (2008-09-12) (France)
Running time
90 minutes
Country France
Language French

The Beautiful Person (French: La Belle Personne) is a 2008 French film directed by Christophe Honoré.[1] It is a modernized adaptation of the seventeeth-century French novel La Princesse de Clèves.

Honoré was inspired to make the film after then French president Nicolas Sarkozy repeatedly criticized the book as irrelevant in regard to modern life.[2]

Plot[edit]

After the death of her mother, Junie (Léa Seydoux) transfers to the school that her cousin Mathias (Esteban Carjaval-Alegria) attends. She catches the attention of a lot of people, especially Otto (Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet) and Nemours (Louis Garrel), her Italian teacher. In Italian class, a record of Maria Callas singing Lucia plays, which causes Junie to rush out crying, leaving her affairs behind. Nemours sees a photo of her taken by another student and swipes it. After this, Nemours pursues her even though she has mixed feelings about it. He is so enamored by her that he breaks off his relationships with Florence Perrin, a teacher (Valerie Lang), and Marie, a student (Agathe Bonitzer). Nemours switches seats with Mathias during a field trip. Marie sees a letter left on the seat and it spreads throughout the student body. This letter is a love letter that all of the students think was written by Nemours. Junie, upon reading the letter, becomes very upset, believing that Nemours is in love with somebody else. Mathias goes to Nemours and explains that it was his letter from another boy named Martin and asked him to say that it belonged to the teacher. One of Otto's friends from the Russian language class is asked to spy on her after Junie acts cold to Otto and sees Nemours acting tender to Junie. He mistakes it for kissing and Otto confronts Junie about the misunderstanding. She denies it and goes home. Otto kills himself the next day by jumping from a very high floor at school. After Otto's suicide, Junie skips school for three weeks coming only after Nemours tells Mathias that he will be taking sick leave until the end of the semester. Nemours follows Junie around and she decides to approach him. He asks for some time to talk to her and they are seen running around the city like children. He takes her back to his room where she starts talking about love. He takes her home where they set a date for 5pm the day after next. Nemours waits till seven, then calls Mathias. Mathias comes down and tells Nemours that Junie left yesterday, and he is not allowed to say where and to forget about her. She also said she never wanted to see him again. Junie is seen on a ship departing for somewhere else.

Cast[edit]

In parenthesis are the corresponding characters from La Princesse de Clèves.

  • Louis Garrel as Jacques Nemours (The Duke de Nemours)
  • Léa Seydoux as Junie de Chartres (The Princess de Clèves)
  • Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet as Otto Clèves (The Prince de Clèves)
  • Esteban Carvajal Alegria as Matthias de Chartres (The Vidame de Chartres)
  • Anaïs Demoustier as Catherine (The Queen Catherine de Médicis)
  • Agathe Bonitzer as Marie Valois (The Queen Dauphine)
  • Simon Truxillo as Henri Valois (The King Henri II)
  • Jacob Lyon as Jacob (the Knight de Guise)
  • Tanel Derard as Tanel
  • Martin Simeon as Martin
  • Jeanne Audiard as Jeanne
  • Esther Garrel as Esther
  • Clotilde Hesme as Mme. de Tournon, The Librarian (Mme. de Tournon)
  • Valérie Lang as Florence Perrin, History Teacher and ex-lover of Nemours
  • Chantal Neuwirthas Nicole, Hostess of the café Sully
  • Jean-Michel Portalas Estouteville, The Math Teacher (Estouteville)
  • Dominic Gould as English Teacher
  • Alice Butaud as Russian Teacher
  • Matilde Incerti as French Teacher
  • Chiara Mastroianni as girl in the café Sully (Actress who played the Princess de Clèves in La Lettre)

Trivia[edit]

  • The film was shot in four weeks between 27 December 2007 and the 30 January 2008, at the Lycée Molière, in the 16th arrondissement of Paris. Several of the scenes were filmed in the streets of Paris and in the metro stations Passy and Quai de la gare.
  • Chiara Mastroianni made a cameo appearance while the character Junie is sitting in the café. She played the equivalent character to Junie in another film adaptation, La Lettre, of The Princess of Cleves.

Accolades[edit]

Award / Film Festival Category Recipients and nominees Result
César Awards Most Promising Actor Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet Nominated
Most Promising Actress Léa Seydoux Nominated
Best Adaptation Christophe Honoré and Gilles Taurand Nominated
Festival International du Film Francophone de Namur Best Actress Léa Seydoux Won
Lumières Awards Most Promising Actress Léa Seydoux Nominated
Prix Jacques Prévert du Scénario Best Adaptation Christophe Honoré and Gilles Taurand Nominated

References[edit]

  1. ^ Mintzer, Jordan (2008-09-22). "The Beautiful Person". Variety. Retrieved 2011-03-24. 
  2. ^ Gallix, Andrew. "Why a 17th-century novel is a hot political issue in France". Retrieved 11 September 2016. 

External links[edit]