If you like your coming of age stories set in 19th century rural Normandy, Stéphane Brizé ‘s “A Woman’s Life” is just the film for your very specific tastes.
The drama, an adaptation of Guy de Maupassant’s classic novel “Une Vie,” explores the troubles of a woman named Jeanne (Judith Chemla), who faces falling in love under the restrictive social and moral codes of the time. Brizé shot “A Woman’s Life” in the tight 4:3 Academy ratio, a very apt visual symbol of his heroine’s constricted life. All in all, it’s a stark departure from his last film, Cannes award-winner “The Measure of a Man.”
Brizé recently spoke to Film Comment about what drew him to the source material.
“I was fascinated by discovering the vision of the world of someone who has very high views of mankind,” he said. “It is absolutely beautiful to find a woman like Jeanne, whose idea of mankind and the world is probably very naive. She is unable to accept and mourn the loss of the paradise that you live in as a child, and to recognize that when entering adulthood, you simply have to change your views and accept things you did not have to before.”
“A Woman’s Life” opens in New York on May 5 and Los Angeles on May 12, with a national rollout to follow. Check out our exclusive clip below.