A Woman’s Life (Une vie) directed by Stéphane Brizé (France, 2017, 119 min.).
Adapted from the novel Une vie by Guy de Maupassant, A Woman’s Life is a delicate portrait of a young aristocrat named Jeanne (Judith Chemla) living in 19th-century Normandy. After finishing her schooling in a convent, Jeanne is compelled by her parents to marry local Viscount Julien de Lamare (Swann Arlaud), who soon reveals himself to be unkind and unfaithful. As she navigates his chronic infidelity, pressure from her family and community, and the alternating joys and burdens of motherhood, Jeanne’s romantic illusions about her privileged world are slowly stripped away by the cold reality of her time and place. French filmmaker Stéphane Brizé shoots this follow-up to his Cannes and César Award–winning The Measure of a Man in constricted 4:3 ratio, creating a tightly composed work that perfectly captures Jeanne’s confinement.
For her performance in A Woman’s Life, Judith Chemla took home the Best Actress prize at the 2017 César Awards.
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