Rivette here remodels La Belle Noiseuse into another film entirely, using alternative takes, recutting to a much brisker rhythm, and book-ending it with a discreetly but crucially different beginning and ending. The lengthy close-ups of painter Bernard Dufour's hand in action have gone; so have most of the agonising sittings in which Piccoli tries to wring out of Béart the realisation of his ideal masterpiece. This makes for a less tangible sense of painting's material nature, and makes more of a mystery out of the artist-model relationship; the emphasis shifts radically on to Piccoli's wife (Birkin), who now sees the sittings from outside, much as we do. It's a lighter film, but by no means slighter, more like the difference between a Henry James short story and an extended performance piece.
Cast and crew
|Screenwriter:||Pascal Bonitzer, Christine Laurent, Jacques Rivette|