Genre: drama, biography, history
Country: UK, USA, Hungary
Translation: russian subtitles
Length: 111 min.
Director: Wash Westmoreland
Cast: Keira Knightley, Dominic West, Eleanor Tomlinson, Fiona Shaw, Ray Panthaki
Colette is arguably one of France’s most important and groundbreaking twentieth-century writers, and her dozens of volumes of provocative fiction, memoirs, journalism, and drama jubilantly bucked the societal constraints that were placed on women. Writer/director Wash Westmoreland’s mesmerizing film tells the story of this iridescent artist’s creative awakening in turn-of-the-century Paris—a place as dynamic and modern as she was.
Colette (played with sumptuous feistiness by Keira Knightley) arrives from the countryside as a young bride to Willy—an older, notorious literary entrepreneur—and she is immediately swept into flamboyant, libertine society. At Willy’s prompt, she takes pen to paper and invents the loosely autobiographical Claudine novels, which take Paris by storm. The character Claudine becomes a veritable pop-culture icon, but Colette does not, since Willy takes authorial credit. To reclaim her literary voice, Colette must set out for new transgressive adventures, sans Willy.
To bring Colette’s environment alive, Westmoreland creates stunning, luminous tableaus evoking contemporaneous painters who depicted a lush, fin-de-siecle vision of locomotives, urban streets, and verdant gardens—an electric world on the brink of change, just like Colette.
Awards and festivals:
Sundance Film Festival — premiere