La Fidelite

Co-presented by the Polish Cultural Institute New York, BAMcinématek & Cinespia

“Compared to the secretion-oozing nuttiness of ‘Possession’, ‘La Fidélité’ is a work of almost touching delicacy and quiet desperation.” — Michał Oleszczyk, Slant

Zulawski is an undisputed master at extracting blistering, smoldering and heartbreaking performances from his female leads, and here in this magnum opus soap opera take on the classic 17th-century French novel “La Princesse De Clèves”, elicits a career-defining turn from Sophie Marceau — who, shortly after the completion of La Fidélité, would no longer be Zulawski’s real-life spouse. Marceau plays a world-class photographer whose need for steady work leads her to a sleazy Parisian tabloid; once there, she must battle out her rhapsodic affections for both a violence-obsessed paparazzi colleague and a hound-dog ineffectual publishing executive. Covering the span of many years, this baroque saga, complete with its dark labyrinth of emotional betrayals, feels like a wickedly satisfying literary journey into a culture of centuries past transposed onto a Zulawskian modern-day France — one with organ trafficking, locker room sex and underground dogfights pleasingly nestled alongside fancy hot-air balloon jaunts and unswerving romantic declarations.
Dir. Andrzej Zulawski, 2000, 35mm, 166 min.