Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

La Belle Noiseuse (1991)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

La Belle Noiseuse (1991, Fr.) (aka The Beautiful Troublemaker or The Beautiful Nuisance)

In French director Jacques Rivette's lengthy (almost 4 hour) Grand Prize of the Jury winner at Cannes - an abbreviated modified version was titled Divertimento (1992):

  • the creative process, exemplified by the return to work (after 10 years) on an abandoned, neglected masterpiece of ten years - a painting known as "La Belle Noiseuse," by married, impatient, reclusive and aging French artist-painter Edouard Frenhofer (Michel Piccoli) who had lost his artistic inspiration
  • the many scenes in his vast, long-neglected stone-walled studio - with minimal dialogue - engaged with his strong-willed model Marianne (Emmanuelle Béart) who was required to be stark naked as his muse for the majority of the film
Stark Nude Posing of Marianne for Edouard Frenhofer - For Four Days
On His Long Abandoned Painting Titled "La Belle Noiseuse"
  • the captivating, pain-staking process by which he made many preliminary sketches of her in various naked poses, as he attempted to capture her essence, while positioning her in painful, demanding, contorted, cramping and unmoving positions, as he touched her to set her postures, he told her: "I don't care about your breasts, legs, your lips... I want more. I want everything. The blood, the fire, the ice... All that's inside your body. I'll take it all. I'll get it out of you and put it into this frame...I'll get to know what's inside under your thin surface. I want the invisible"
  • at the film's conclusion when the painting was finished after a marathon battle of wills over a 4-day period, Marianne described its stunning image: "A thing which was cold and dry -- it was me"; in voice-over, Marianne narrated: "Marianne put on her old mask again or maybe she took a new one...It used to be me," but then confided in the artist's wife - a former model named Elizabeth or "Liz" (Jane Birkin): "I'm not unaware any more"
  • in a surprise scene, Frenhofer secretly sealed the painting - unseen - behind a newly-laid brick wall, and then presented another faceless painting as the finished product, claiming: "It's my first posthumous work"

Artist-Painter With Marianne

Faceless Painting Displayed - Not the One Frenhofer Had Painted With Marianne


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