La Captive: Akerman’s Adaptation of Proust

(France, 1999)

In this modern-day adaptation of the fifth volume of Marcel Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past, Simon lives a comfortable existence while keeping Ariane, a young woman of unclear social status, in his apartment.

Suspecting her of loving women, he spies on her and relentlessly questions her to find out if she’s “lying.” What unsettles him, ultimately, is the enigma of femininity.

For a female director, the challenge posed by the Proustian text is that Marcel/Simon is constructed as the subject of desire – who acts upon it, obsesses about it, suffers from it and Albertine/Ariane is its unfathomable object.

Akerman’s interpretation produces a more interesting (transgressive) structure: a woman attempting to look at another woman who loves women through the eyes of a man who tortures himself by trying to understand female homosexuality from the inside. (Afterall Magazine)

Producer: Paulo Branco.

Screenwriters: Chantal Akerman, Eric de Kuyper.

Cinematographer: Sabine Lancelin.

Editor: Claire Atherton.

With: Sylvie Testud, Stanislas Mehrar, Olivia Bonamy, Aurore Clément.


French with English subtitles

Running time: 112 min.