Movie Details

In 1991, the master French director Jacques Rivette released one of his most acclaimed works- the four-hour La Belle noiseuse. It was a fascinating and unconventional examination of the creative process, about an artist named Edouard Frenhofer (Michel Piccoli) who reaches the age of 60, and finds new inspiration in a young model (Emmanuelle Beart), much to the quiet indignation of his wife Liz (Jane Birkin). Two years later, Rivette was asked to edit the original 240-minute drama down into a feature-length version that would be more palatable for mainstream audiences. The result was Divertimento (its full title La Belle noiseuse - Divertimento). Released to U.S. cinemas in September 1993, it received much less enthusiastic notices from critics, a fair number of whom (see the Roger Ebert and Vincent Canby assessments) implored viewers to stick with the original. Unsurprisingly, the recut version reduces many of the long, ethereally beautiful sequences that show Frenhofer hard at work on his canvas; instead, it places a much greater emphasis on the emotional toll that Frenhofer's artistic obsessions and infidelities take on the women in his life. The movie also features a different framing sequence, and incorporates takes unused in the original cut. In the eyes of many, the alterations basically maimed the picture, and Divertimento - unlike its parent film - soon faded into total obscurity. ~ Nathan Southern, Rovi