La fausse suivante

  • 90'
  • France
  • 1999
Jacquot sets this prime example of Marivaudage not in 18th-century France but in the world of the theatre. As in Bergman's The Magic Flute, we begin with the understanding that we are watching a play - Sandrine Kiberlain is in her dressing room rehearsing her lines, a costumed actor is followed down a flight of stairs, and suddenly, without warning, we enter not so much an empty theater as the thick of De Marivaux's multiple layers of comic intrigue. Kiberlain is the young woman who disguises herself as a chevalier in order to get to know Lélio (Mathieu Amalric), the man to whom she's been promised, before they marry. Isabelle Huppert is Lélio's mistress and the one the 'chevalier' has to seduce so that Lélio will be free to marry his intended. Pierre Arditi is Trivelin, the chevalier's valet, who agrees to keep the secret of her disguise if she will be his lover. The speed, fluidity, ingenuity and supreme confidence of this film are utterly magical, and few films are more beautiful to look at - Jacquot uses his minimal setting brilliantly, often lighting his actors' faces and their brilliantly coloured costumes by lamplight. A tour de force, but also one of the most beautiful meetings of cinema and theatre ever made. (KJ)
Benoit Jacquot
Country of production
Production Year
Festival Edition
IFFR 2005
International title
The False Servant
Dacia Films, Georges Benayoun
Pyramide International
Mathieu Amalric