Archive of films Gilles' Wife / La femme de Gilles

Belgium / France
2004, 103 min

Section: Horizons
Year: 2005

Frédéric Fonteyne (A Pornographic Affair) shot a film version of the novel of the same name by Madeleine Bourdouxhe. Set in the 1930s, this is the story of Elisa, pregnant with her third child, a great mother and loving wife, who nonetheless must suffer pain and humiliation.


Set in the 1930s, Gilles’ Wife is a film version of the novel of the same name by Madeleine Bourdouxhe. “I started reading the book, but stopped after the first page. But a friend said I should stick with it, so I read the second page. Then I just couldn’t stop,” the director says. Gilles and Elisa look like a happy couple — she is a model mother and housewife: she cooks, washes, cleans, and patiently waits for her husband to come home from his shift. He works hard to support the family, especially after Elisa finds herself once again expecting a blessed event. Her sister Victorine just got a job in the city and stops by often to help out with the kids.... Once in a while Elisa has the feeling that things aren’t quite right with her husband, but she always ignores it — pregnant women are always getting funny ideas. Thus the discovery of the truth is all the more painful. Elisa’s struggle to save everything she loves is desperate, silent, and courageous.

About the director

Frédéric Fonteyne (b. 1968, Brussels) studied television direction and film at Belgium’s Institute of Broadcasting Arts (IAD, Louvain-la-Neuve) in 1985-89, and shot several shorts at the beginning of the nineties. La modestie (1991), scripted by Philippe Blasband, was screened in the Critics’ Week at the Venice IFF. In 1993 he won an award from the Fondation Belge de la Vocation, and two years later IAD asked him to lecture in direction. In 1998 he taught at Parallax Acting School. Fonteyne shot his first feature, Max et Bobo, in 1997, and two years later made the successful A Pornographic Affair (Une liaison pornographique), which secured Nathalie Baye a Best Actress Coppa Volpi at the Venice IFF. The latter film was shown in 2000 at Karlovy Vary in the Horizons section. It also took the Media 2001 Award, conferred by the EU
Commissioner for Culture.


Wild Bunch
65 rue de Dunkerque, 75009, PARIS
Tel: +33 143 132 130
Fax: + 33 1 431 321 30

Artémis Productions
60 Rue Gallait, 1030, Brussels
Tel: +32 2 216 2324
Fax: +32 2 216 2013

About the film

Color, 35 mm

Section: Horizons
Director: Frédéric Fonteyne
Screenplay: Philippe Blasband, Frédéric Fonteyne
Dir. of Photography: Virginie Saint Martin
Music: Vincent D´Hondt
Editor: Ewin Ryckaert
Producer: Patrick Quinet
Production: Artémis Productions, koprodukce/coproduction: Nord-Ouest Production
Cast: Emmanuelle Devos, Clovis Cornillac, Laura Smet
Contact: Wild Bunch, Artémis Productions


Frédéric Fonteyne

Alain de la Mata

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