La Femme Publique. 3/16 at Cinefamily. This movie has the best naked dance scenes ever put to film.
A rare film about filmmaking that’s fleshy as it is brainy, La Femme Publique is an eloquently effed love letter to cinema that could have only been created by a director for whom romance is synonymous with delirium. A physically stunning Valérie Kaprisky stars as an aspiring actress whose efforts in a wild film adaptation of Dostoevsky keep her (barely) sane amongst the literal grind of nude photography dancing(!). Long drawn to the cinematic concept of doubles, Zulawski casts one for himself here, in the guise of the expat director (an intense Francis Huster) who shares Zulawski’s own obsession for extracting extreme, unorthodox performances from the cast. As Huster directs Kaprisky both on and off the set (and into his bedroom), his production remains one of cinema’s most self-reflexive and most aggressive films-within-a-film, viscerally exploding the boundaries between performance and life, and between director and directed. An essential companion piece to The Important Thing is to Love, this is required viewing for anyone looking for insight into the creative mind of one of the 20th century’s most inventive auteurs.