Season of biopics: Now, two more on Madam Bovary

  • Gautaman Bhaskaran, Hindustan Times, Chennai
  • Updated: Jun 09, 2015 19:08 IST

The recent times have seen a strange, but welcome, upsurge in cinema's fascination with biopics. In India, we saw one on Paan Singh Tomar, one on Mary Kom and a third on Milkha Singh. And now Aishwarya Rai is all set to play Dalbir Kaur Singh, the sister of Sarabjit Singh, who was murdered in a Pakistan prison. Producers have been frantically looking for an actor to essay "India's Greta Garbo" Suchitra Sen -- who remained reclusive during the later part of her life. Vidya Balan has reportedly turned it down. Perhaps, she did not want to do one more biopic after disappearing into Silk Smitha's life.

Across the seas, one has seen two excellent biopics in recent years on the legendary French stylist, Yves Saint Laurent by Jalil Lespert and by Bertrand Bonello. Given the acclaim that both movies garnered, it is not surprising that two more French biopics are on.

YSL biopic by Jalil Lespert.

They are on Madam Bovary, the young 19th century French woman, a farmer's daughter -- who sought to escape the tedium of marriage and provincial life by embarking on a journey of scandalous sexual affairs.

Saint Laurent by Bertrand Bonello. Sophie Barthes' Madam Bovary (based on a novel by Gustave Flaubert) -- which will be in the cinemas in Europe on June 12 -- has Mia Wasikowska portraying that bold and fiery woman. Barthes told the media the other day that Emma Bovary's "self-destructive pattern of desiring the inaccessible and the permanent dissatisfaction with one's plight is a very modern syndrome". So the film is bound to appeal to audiences, especially women, in this 21st century.

Madam Bovary played by Mia Wasikowska.

The other biopic on Bovary, titled Gemma Bovery (Repeat Bovery), is also helmed by a French woman, Anne Fontaine. Her film follows the pages of British author Posy Simmonds' graphic novel. The movie has just opened in France and elsewhere in Europe. Simmonds's work is a comedic version of Bovary's life.

However, like Barthes', Fontaine also believes that Madam Bovary's life and exploits are relatable to modern times. Talking to the media after the release of her film, she quipped: "I think everybody has something inside of him or her of this character."

Earlier, Fontaine made Coco Before Chanel, the girl whose story from an orphanage to the highest echelons of French society sounds almost like a fairy tale.

A poster of Coco Before Chanel starring French actor Audrey Tautou. Gemma Bovery stars Gemma Arterton, who has been described as an actor known to have the talent to play classic characters. She debuted in St Trinian's (2007) and went on to do fantasy parts in Clash of the Titans, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time and Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters. Incidentally, she also played a Bond girl in Quantum of Solace in 2008.

Gemma Bovery stars actor Gemma Arterton.

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