Tim Jules Hull
Great patience required, especially the long sequences of scratching ink over paper.
La Belle Noiseuse is a 1991 film directed by Jacques Rivette and starring Michel Piccoli, Jane Birkin, and Emmanuelle Béart. Its title means "The Beautiful Troublemaker". The film is loosely adapted from the short story "The Unknown Masterpiece" by the nineteenth-century French writer Honoré de Balzac.
A famous reclusive painter, Frenhofer (Piccoli), lives quietly with his wife and former model (Birkin) in a large château in rural Languedoc-Roussillon. When a young artist visits him with his girlfriend Marianne (Béart), Frenhofer is inspired to commence work once more on a painting he long ago abandoned - La Belle Noiseuse - using Marianne as his model. The film painstakingly explores Frenhofer's creative rebirth. It uses lengthy real-time takes of the artist's hand (provided by Bernard Dufour) working on the canvas.
The film won the Grand Prix at the 1991 Cannes Film Festival.
The film had a good critical reception, and occasioned much comment on Béart's frank onscreen nudity and...