She was topless in three scenes, all incredibly dark. I’m absolutely all-in for Jessica Chastain nudity. I think she’s gorgeous and talented. That said, I’d be in even more than all, somewhere around 137%, if the DP on this show would pop down to Home Depot and pick up a few light bulbs.

Scene 1 (with colors and lighting enhanced)

Scene 2 (main image as seen, inset enhanced)

Scene 3 (brightened)

image host image host

Illusions Perdues (“Lost Illusions”) is a new adaptation of a typically prolix Balzac work. Balzac was a literary giant. If you want to know what France was like in the second quarter of the 19th century, he is your go-to source. But he was not known for being succinct or for sticking to the point. In the course of a relatively short life (he died at 50 or so), he wrote approximately a bazillion words. His works make the efforts of Turgenev and Herman Melville seem as sparse and economical as a Hemingway short story. The book is filled with digressions, and is interrupted by the separate literary efforts of one of the characters, a poet. None of those poems were written by Balzac, but by several of his literary colleagues. In other words, as an emperor is supposed to have said to his court composer, “Too many notes, mister Mozart.”

I guess there are two sides to that coin.

Here’s how an Amazon reviewer describes the book (or books – it can be published in one volume or three):

“Lost Illusions is a long and sometimes tedious novel about a young poet from the provinces.”

Here’s how Goodreads describes the same work:

“Balzac’s Lost Illusions is a massive literary undertaking, and an attempt to delve deep into the world of humanity with all its great deeds and basest desires.”

So its massive scope is either a reflection of great depth or excess verbosity, and Balzac was either an encyclopedic chronicler of his times or a guy who just couldn’t shut the fuck up.

Probably both.

Gustave Flaubert probably summed up Balzac’s strengths and weaknesses as well as anyone. He was filled with effusive praise for Balzac’s unsparing portrayal of society, while at the same time deploring his tedious prose. Flaubert once wrote of Balzac: “What a man he would have been had he known how to write!” (Quoted by Graham Robb in “Balzac: A Biography.”)

Anyway, the filmmakers managed to condense this sweeping story into a good movie of normal length, and it included some nice nudity by Salome Dewaels.

Salome Dewaels in Lost Illusions


Huge update this week. Here are the new pics 10/08:
(If you don’t see thumbnails below, this link should work.)

Virginie Efira¬†in “Benedetta”:

 

Daphn√© Patakia¬†in “Benedetta”:

 

Guilaine Londez¬†in “Benedetta”:

Louise Chevillotte¬†in “Benedetta”:

Alexia Chardard¬†in “Benedetta”:

L√©a Seydoux¬†in “Tromperie” & “Story of my wife:

 

Marina Hands¬†in “Mytho”:

 

Marie-Sophie Ferdane¬†in “la dame aux cam√©lias”:

Joana Preiss¬†in “la dame aux cam√©lias”:

Oc√©ane Ca√Įraty¬†in “la dame aux cam√©lias”:

 

Oph√©lia Kolb¬†in “on n’efface pas les souvenirs”:

Annelise Hesme¬†in “on n’efface pas les souvenirs”:

Lauira Auclair¬†in “fr√©rots”:

Tamara Saade¬†in “Agata Mousse”:

French version – with extensive commentary about new French cinema

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