Eugénie Grandet with Joséphine Japy: what does this new adaptation of Balzac look like? …

Eugénie grandet with joséphine japy: what does this new adaptation of balzac look like? ...

Joséphine Japy is “Eugénie Grandet” in the new adaptation of Balzac’s classic, written and directed by Marc Dugain, and on the bill this week.

What is it about ?

Felix Grandet reigns supreme in his modest house in Saumur where his wife and daughter Eugenie lead a distraction-free existence. Extremely avaricious, he does not take a good look at the beautiful parties who rush to ask for his daughter’s hand. Nothing should undermine the colossal fortune that it hides from everyone.

The sudden arrival of Grandet’s nephew, an orphaned and ruined Parisian dandy, turns the young girl’s life upside down. Eugenie’s love and generosity towards her cousin will plunge Father Grandet into limitless rage. Confronted with his daughter, he will be more than ever ready to sacrifice everything on the altar of profit, even his own family …

Eugénie Grandet directed and scripted by Marc Dugain, based on the novel by Honoré de Balzac, with Joséphine Japy, Olivier Gourmet, Valérie Bonneton, César Domboy … Release: September 29, 2021.

An adaptation that resonates with our times

One adaptation of Balzac can hide another! This fall, it is not one, but two films adapted from the author of The Human Comedy which are released on the big screen. Before Lost Illusions staged by Xavier Giannoli (October 20), we discover Josephine Japy (heroine of My unknown) in Eugenie Grandet, alongsideOlivier Gourmet, Valerie Bonneton and Caesar Domboy, at the house of Marc Dugain (The Exchange of Princesses).

This is the 8th screen adaptation (small and large) of this novel, the most recent dating back to 1994, under the direction of Jean-Daniel Verhaeghe, for France 3. For this 2021 version, Marc Dugain is is particularly attached to accentuating the current scope of the novel written by Honoré de Balzac in 1833. It is precisely because of its “resonance with our times“that Marc Dugain wanted to adapt it.

Balzac has a very particular way of talking about women, which we feel deeply admiring, and
each of his books is an opportunity to denounce their condition. At the beginning of the 19th century, women were literally enslaved to men, at their will, caught in a vice between unrewarding tasks and religious principles, most often married against their will. Whatever they do, they come up against the only will of men“, explains the screenwriter and director.

Father Grandet is the personification of patriarchy, as a mode of male domination that flourished in the early days of capitalism.“, he continues, indicating that he wanted to make this film”a study of manners in line with what Balzac wanted to do“.

Marc Dugain naturally sought to make the work more current, by adapting the language for example. Similar work had been done on his previous film, The Exchange of the Princesses, which was already a period film. “I really like the language of that time, its music and the richness of its vocabulary, but we cannot keep the side which, today, seems obsolete, hence the need to make a translation to the both modern and respectful of its history“, he specifies.

With a careful photography and a cast made up of actresses and actors from various backgrounds, including Valérie Bonneton, here in a dramatic register far from Fais pas ci, faire pas ça, Marc Dugain signs a film that is both classic and respectful of the work, while taking liberties. A feature film that can be seen by the youngest generations, and in particular in a school setting.

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