Screened as part of NZIFF 2009

Chéri 2009

Directed by Stephen Frears

A stunning Michelle Pfeiffer reunites with Dangerous Liaisons director Stephen Frears to play a cynical courtesan in love with a younger man in this sumptuous Belle Epoque drama. With Rupert Friend, Kathy Bates.

France / Germany / UK In English
100 minutes 35mm / CinemaScope



Bill Kenwright


Christopher Hampton. Based on the novels Chéri and The Last of Chéri by Colette


Darius Khondji


Lucia Zuchetti

Production designer

Alan Macdonald

Costume designer

Consolata Boyle


Peter Lindsay


Alexandre Desplat


Stephen Frears


Harriet Walter (La Loupiote)
Michelle Pfeiffer (Léa)
Rupert Friend (Chéri)
Kathy Bates (Charlotte Peloux)
Felicity Jones (Edmée)
Bette Bourne (Baroness)
Iben Hjejle (Marie-Laure)
Nichola McAuliffe (Mme Aldonza)
Anita Pallenberg (La Copine)
Frances Tomelty (Rose)
Harriet Walter (La Loupiote)


Berlin 2009


Love and cynicism duel for the lives of a grand courtesan (Michelle Pfeiffer) and her pampered young lover (Mrs Palfrey's Rupert Friend) in this sumptuous adaptation of Colette. Frears' deft management of his constantly parading and bantering characters cheerfully overrides the incongruity of so many English-speaking actors purporting to be French, but he never evades the toughness at the heart of his Belle Epoque drama of love for sale. — BG

“Michelle Pfeiffer has made this film her own... Between them, Pfeiffer and director Stephen Frears have created a riveting portrait of a woman on the run from age and time. The film's intense two-handed structure may not have the narrative richness of their first collaboration, Dangerous Liaisons, but it easily stands comparison with that 21-year-old masterpiece... [The cinematography] evokes both the impressionists and the Pre-Raphaelites in every stunning, jewel-like shot.” — Lisa Mullen, Sight & Sound