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Gilles' Wife
Gilles' Wife
Actors: Emmanuelle Devos, Clovis Cornillac, Laura Smet, Colette Emmanuelle, Gil Lagay
Director: Frédéric Fonteyne
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
UR     2006     1hr 43min

Set in the 1930?s, Gilles? Wife is a haunting tale of love and betrayal in a small mining town on the outskirts of France. A startling new film from director Frederic Fonteyne (Une Liaison Pornographique), and featuring an...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Emmanuelle Devos, Clovis Cornillac, Laura Smet, Colette Emmanuelle, Gil Lagay
Director: Frédéric Fonteyne
Creators: Frédéric Fonteyne, Andrea Occhipinti, Christophe Rossignon, Claude Waringo, Madeleine Bourdouxhe, Marion Hänsel, Philippe Blasband
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Love & Romance
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 08/08/2006
Original Release Date: 01/01/2004
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2004
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 1hr 43min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 4
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: French
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

The Title, Sadly, Says It All
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 10/23/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"'La Femme de Gilles' ('Gilles' Wife') began as a novel by Madeleine Bourdouxhe and was transformed for the screen by Philippe Blasband, Marion Hänsel and Frédéric Fonteyne who also directs this stunning and controversial art piece. Certainly one of the most visually magnificent films of recent years (cinematographer Virginie Saint-Martin) 'Gilles' Wife' succeeds on every level: the story is unique, the direction is liquid and languorous, and the cast is superlative.

Elisa (the remarkably sensitive Emmanuelle Devos) lives with her husband Gilles in what appears to be a perfect marriage: Elisa is the doting but sincerely in love housewife who spends her days caring for their twin daughters, cleaning house, cooking special meals, canning berry jams, keeping her husband satisfied sexually; Gilles (Clovis Cornillac) appears to be a loving husband, tender with Elisa, enamored with her, and content. Elisa has a younger attractive sister Victorine (Laura Smet) who visits this haven-like household frequently to see her nieces and almost from the start we sense there is an attraction between Gilles and Victorine. Elisa becomes pregnant with their third child and Gilles grows a bit distant. Elisa gradually acknowledges the fact that he is having an affair with Victorine and though hurt by the deception she decides the only way to keep Gilles is to allow him to discuss the matter with her. Patiently she listens to his fears that Victorine may have another lover and in fact allows Elisa to stalk Victorine to substantiate the affair. Elisa accomplishes her mission and Gilles is devastated with the truth, all the while paying little attention to the emotional sacrifices Elisa is making on his behalf. There are confrontations, Elisa even seeks out a priest to help her in resolving her pain but the priest doesn't pay attention and Elisa is left with silence. When eventually the affair between Gilles and Victorine ends Elisa has given birth to a son, accepts Gilles' remorse, and ultimately in her own quiet way finds a mode of redemption for her trials with an unfaithful husband.

The fact the Elisa is content to be just 'Gilles' wife' instead of maintaining her dignity is hard to swallow at first but in Emmanuelle Devos' gifts as an actress we are made to understand her choices. The triad of actors here are amazingly fine and they are directed with graceful sensitivity by Frédéric Fonteyne. As an extra on the DVD there is an extended conversation with Fonteyne who shares some of the deleted scenes - this viewer only wishes there were not deleted! - and gives one of the more intelligent surveys of a film's story and progress on record. The visual painting of the scenes is so very beautiful that each frame could be a canvas. This is an impressively fine and deeply moving film. Highest recommendation. Grady Harp, October 06"
"Emmanuelle Devos & Frederic Fonteyne ... Gilles Wife (2004)
J. Lovins | Missouri-USA | 09/27/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Koch Lorber Films and Cinema Guild (US) / Mars Films present - "Gilles' Wife" (2004) - Frederic Fonteyne (Dolby Digital) --- true cinematic film making, haunting and lavishly beautiful, with a stunning performances by Emmanuelle Devos ... magical and fascinating story mixed with moving drama and compelling direction from Frederic Fonteyne, his way of positioning the camera was a large part of the film ----- Under Frédéric Fonteyne (Director / Screenwriter), Patrick Quinet (Producer), Claude Waringo (Producer), Philippe Blasband (Screenwriter), Madeleine Bourdouxhe (Book Author), Marion Hänsel (Screenwriter), Virginie Saint-Martin (Cinematographer), Virginie St. Martin (Cinematographer), Vincent d'Hondt (Composer (Music Score), Ewin Ryckaert (Editor) ----- the cast includes Emmanuelle Devos (Elisa), Clovis Cornillac (Gilles), Laura Smet (Victorine), Alice Verlinden (La jumelle #1), Chloé Verlinden (La jumelle #2), Colette Emmanuelle (La mère d'Élisa), Gil Lagay (Le père d'Élisa) . . . . . our story takes place in the 1930s with an extraordinary cast and in the lead is Emmanuelle Devos (Elisa), playing the part of a loving wife who's husband is having an affair ... the husband Clovis Cornillac has eyes for Laura Smet the sister of his wife, can Devos win back her husbands love and save the marriage ... what is the ravings her husband expounds, can a priest give her the answer and peace ... the question is will she succeed and keep her family together ... must make mention that Emmanuele Devos carries the film, the expressions and emotion in her face sends a message to the audience without words --- Film Presented 2004 Toronto International Film Festival.

1. Emmanuelle Devos
Date of birth: 10 May 1964 - Puteaux, Hauts-de-Seine, France
2. Clovis Cornillac
Date of birth: 16 August 1967 - Lyon, Rhône, France
3. Laura Smet
Date of birth: 15 November 1983 - Paris, France
4. Frédéric Fonteyne (Director)
Date of birth: 1968 - Uccle, Belgium

1. "Making of" Featurette
2. Deleted Scenes with Director's Commentary
3. Original French Trailer

Great job by Koch Lorber Films for releasing "Gilles' Wife" (2004) - Frederic Fonteyne, the digital transfere with a clean, clear and crisp print...looking forward to more high quality releases from the foreign film market --- order your copy now from Amazon or Koch Lorber Films where there are plenty of copies available on DVD, stay tuned once again for top notch drama mixed with an outstanding cast and director --- just the way we like 'em

Total Time: 103 mins on DVD ~ Koch Lorber Films KLF3094 ~ (8/08/2006)"
A silent film in French
Keith W. Harvey | Dallas, Texas USA | 03/10/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Coincidentally, I watched La Femme de Gilles the same weekend I viewed Georg Wilhelm Pabst's Die Buchse der Pandora.

I found a similarity in the two films in that we see rather than hear the intense emotions in both female protagonists. This experience is not unusual in a silent film but somewhat of a novelty in a modern one.

Fonteyne accomplishes this intensity by filming the pivotal scenes without dialogue. What we see is Emmanuelle Devos' face and eyes expressing her intense feelings. We viewers know, without being told explicitly, that tragedy awaits her. We see it and we feel it intensely. There is no grand summary or confrontation; there is no mediation of language to protect us from her sadness and her tragedy.

Additionally, natural symbols abound. After the beginning of the affair in summer, frigid winter falls. Her sadness deepens and her suspicions are confirmed. She works; she gives birth. She nurtures her selfish and childish husband as he suffers from Victorine's rejection. Her downfall follows her triumph over Victorine, when she realizes she lives with an empty shirt she scrubs clean.

All in all La Femme de Gilles is a magnificient silent film."