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Sandrine Kiberlain
'Violette' shows French novelist Violette Leduc's daring life
'Violette' shows French novelist Violette Leduc's daring life

Though its subject was real, the French biopic "Violette" feels more like a thought experiment: What if a brilliant and daring female artist was just as self-indulgent and self-pitying as the vilest of her male counterparts? Director Martin Provost's epic portrait of novelist Violette Leduc is so compelling, even thrilling, in its frank depictions of female sexual voracity, professional egotism and twisted variants on the Electra complex that it's easy to overlook his film's shaggy, uneven plotting. Simone de Beauvoir (Sandrine Kiberlain) instantly recognized a young Leduc (Emmanuelle Devos) as a natural talent and a rare female ally in the predominantly male...

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