My Name is Claudine…I was born in Montigny in 1884…I shalll probably not die there..
These are the haunting opening lines of Claudine written by Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette. Colette, a French mime, actress and journalist was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948 is played to perfection by period piece Queen – Keira Knightley. Colette is a coming of age story of sorts about a young woman who finds her voice through ghost writing her autobiographical tales as a young girl for her husband (Willy – who is 15 years her senior)- only to have him take credit and sell her work. Dominic West is wickedly devilish as Willy, Colette’s over-sexed, blow-hard husband, whose jealousy and control issues ultimately doomed their marriage and friendship for eternity.
The costumes are beautiful and the score is the perfect complement to a screenplay that gives us such witty dialogue as”pot-bellied stove,’ as well as this analogy of bad theatre by Willy “…if a painting is too garish, you can close your eyes. But, bad theatre is like sitting in the dentist’s chair having your skull drilled until the entire grizzly procedure is over.” Pure comedy.
To my surprise, Colette wrote “Gigi” in 1944 which became a classical Oscar-winning film of the same name starring Leslie Caron and Louis Jordan. Colette also published over 30 novels and short stories.
Bleecker Street films was gracious enough to invite me to the red carpet for this event and here are some highlights of that evening.