* * * * *
Violette Leduc is unhappy. She wants to be a great writer, but more than this she craves a human connection. The salvation comes in the face of Simone de Beauvoir, a beautiful and talented writer who takes Violette under her wing. But Violette is not looking for charity. Her insecurities and frustrations push her to the brink of disaster. Will she be able to save herself by focusing on what she does best - writing?
The biopic from Cesar winning director Martin Provost is uncompromising look at woman’s desires as a writer and as a human being. The story takes us into Paris of 1944 - robbed by war off its glamour, but not off its talent. It is inhabited by the famous figures of French literature such as Jean-Paul Sartre, Jean Cocteau and Jean Genet. Violette, fresh from her strange friendship with French author Maurice Sachs, is plunged into the world of literature giants, where she is only a small fish that no one takes seriously (or so it seems to her). Eventually being praised by her colleagues and supported financially on her way to the top, she may just have to accept that true success for a writer - a financial independence - is an unreachable dream.
The film is split into chapters, the titles being the highlights on Violette’s journey, people and places she loved and abandoned and then returned to again. It’s not an easy film to watch. Although a sense of time and place is perfect and the performance from Emmanuelle Devos as Violet is impeccable, it is a dark and a heartbreaking ordeal.
In one of the moments of the film Simone De Beauvoir says: “You cannot be friends with Violette. I’m just fulfilling my responsibility towards her.” This is the core dilemma for Violette - she is trying to demand what she can only get for free - love and adoration. Instead she becomes a responsibility for everyone she meets on her way. Indeed, a road of an artist is a road walked alone.