Guy de Maupassant's first novel is Une Vie, which is also the original French title of the new film adapted from that novel by Stéphane Brizé and Florence Vignon and directed by Brizé. The title of the American release has been changed to A WOMAN'S LIFE, which does immediate disservice to both the film and its source novel by assuring viewers that this is "woman's picture." This will certainly guarantee less males in the audience and more females. The simpler "A Life" is so much more apt and generous, and though de Maupassant was more than aware of a woman's predicament during the latter half of the Nineteenth Century, his choice of the non-gender title itself calls attention to the difference in experience had that titular life belonged to a man rather than to a woman.
Mademoiselle Chabon, The Measure of a Man, and A Few Hours of Spring (click and scroll down) -- is a masterful one, if very slowly paced. Action lovers be warned. But if you give yourself over to this leisurely, extra-ordinarily quiet movie, you may come away changed by having indeed experienced...
That life belongs to a young woman named Jeanne (played by Judith Chemla, shown above and below), whom we meet on the cusp of adulthood and then follow for two generations, as her life moves along, growing slowly and surely ever more out of her control.
Jean-Pierre Darroussin and Yolande Moreau (shown below, at right and left, with Ms Moreau seen again at bottom left) -- to learn little but how to garden, read and serve her husband.
Swann Arlaud, below, right), who, yes, manages to impregnate the maid and then offer up the usual apology of the time. (Not so very unlike those we're increasingly used to hearing these days.)
Kino Lorber and running a lengthy two hours, the movie opens this Friday, May 5, in New York City at both the Lincoln Plaza Cinema and the Quad Cinema, and on the following Friday, May 12, in Los Angeles at Laemmle's Royal and here in Miami at the Tower Theater.