Lyrically combining archival interviews and the author’s own words, this absorbing documentary offers a rare opportunity to rediscover the taboo-breaking works and life of French writer Violette Leduc.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2014
The author of ground-breaking, taboo-shattering novels in which her life was the subject, Violette Leduc was a pioneer of what is now known as ‘autofiction’. Through her work, she confronted the experience of being an illegitimate child, homosexuality and abortion, and explored with intensity and total candour the reaches of female desire – all scandalous, indecent subjects for macho 50s France. This documentary portrait returns to the places where Leduc lived and wrote, and draws from rare archive interviews with the author, who was as forthright in conversation as she was in print. Scholars and impassioned readers – including Claude Lanzmann – reflect upon her writing and its legacy, while excerpts from her novels are sensitively read aloud, allowing us to revel in the poetic, at times hallucinatory, power of this radical, ahead-of-her-time woman. This documentary portrait provides a vital and illuminating supplement to Martin Provost’s Violette – and to Emmanuelle Devos’ superb performance as the woman in question. — Sandra Reid