June 27, 2016
Home / Articles / Cinema / Ok /  A Life Less Ordinary

A Life Less Ordinary

'Violette' is difficult but rewarding

June 24, 2014, 12:00 am

If you can get through the first 30 minutes of Violette, you’ll be rewarded with another 105 minutes of much of the same self-hatred and sexual obsession, but it somehow becomes more palatable. The early scenes, as Violette Leduc (Emmanuelle Devos) hides away with Maurice Sachs (Olivier Py), are so fraught with tension—brush up on your World War II knowledge—bad vibes and screaming that they’re difficult to watch.

Once you’ve acclimated and Sachs is in a German prison, the movie gets easier, even if Violette does not. At least she comes by her hard personality honestly: She’s a bastard who feels unloved, and she feels like a second-class citizen in a French society that doesn’t value women.

She begins writing (at first at Sachs’ insistence) and before long is a critical darling, even if material success is a long way off. Her relationship with Simone de Beauvoir (Sandrine Kiberlain, who wisely underplays) makes up most of the narrative, with drop-ins by Jean Genet and Jacques Guérin.

Another strength is the screenplay, by Marc Abdelnour, René de Ceccatty and director Martin Provost, which doesn’t go the way of traditional biopics, but plays out like high drama, where the drama derives from an ordinary, extraordinary life.


Directed by Martin Provost

With Devos, Kiberlain, and Olivier Gourmet

Jean Cocteau Cinema

138 min.


comments powered by Disqus

Morning Word: Wildfire 100 Percent Contained

Morning Word Officials are monitoring a 3-mile area near the Santa Fe watershed but say the fire that burned 7.6 acres is now out.  ... More

June 27, 2016 by Peter St. Cyr

Fire Starts in City Watershed

Major resources on tap to fight fire that began Thursday in the Santa Fe Watershed

Local News A small wildfire has ignited in the Santa Fe Municipal Watershed, just upstream of McClure Reservoir and in the wilderness portion of the watershed.  ... More

June 23, 2016 by Elizabeth Miller


* indicates required
Choose your newsletter(s):

@SFReporter on Instagram