The opening of La Femme Publique foreshadows the melodramatic nature of the rest of the film. A feature characteristic of many other Żuałwski creations.
The Femme in question is Valérie Kaprisky, who plays Ethel, a vulnerable young actress who is easily influenced by the people around her. An overdramatic and frantic Czech film director takes her under his wing, and manipulates her, giving her the option to be in his film based on Dostoevsky’s novel The Possesed.
Kaprisky’s dance scenes in the film are especially beautiful and particularly memorable for the audience watching. And, if she were not nude, maybe it would not have had the same effect.
The story is inspired by a novel written by co-screenwriter, Dominque Garnier, who confesses her struggles as a young artist. Like the protagonist, Garnier also posed nude for photographer as a way of making money.
The film is stylistically scenic and gripping, but you can’t help but sympathise for Ethel, and feel scorn towards the next person who takes advantage of her.
La femme publique
director ANDRZEJ ŻUŁAWSKI
director of photography SACHA VIERNY
cast FRANCIS HUSTER, VALÉRIE KAPRISKY, LAMBERT WILSON, PATRICK BAUCHAU and GISÈLE PASCAL
words PRIYESH PATEL
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