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A Feature film by Agnès Merlet

Produced by Première Heure

Release in France : 10/09/1997

  • Contents

Actors (9)

Production and distribution (5)

Executive Producer :

Première Heure

Foreign production companies :

Schlemmer Film, 3 Emme Cinematografica

French distribution :


Co-production :

France 3 Cinéma

Film exports/foreign sales :

FTD International Cinéma, Orange Studio

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Box office: Timeline

International releases (25)

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Italy, 1610. Artemisia Gentileschi is 17-years-old. Her father, Orazio, a celebrated artist, has conferred to her his passion for painting. A forbidden passion at that time because women were not allowed to study at the Academy or ask a male model to pose nude. Artemisia, however, persists in her passion. One day on the beach, Artemisia sees a man, Agostino Tassi, an artist experienced in the latest painting techniques. She is troubled and frightened by this arrogant man who so readily engages in debauchery. Orazio shares with Tassi a commission to paint religious frescos in a church. Artemisia obtains permission from her father for Agostino to teach her something that she still has not learned: the art of perspective. Gradually the lessons between the teacher and the student take an another form. It is not just painting that Agostino can teach Artemisia, but also passion. The body is no longer an object which one paints, but a place of desire, suffering and pleasure...


"Artemisia" tells the story of a double initiation; into the art of painting and the art of loving. Orazio uses his daughter to obtain wealth. Too absorbed in his business dealings, he neglects his affective relationship with Artemisia. He betrays her in order to succeed professionally and socially.To save herself, Artemisia rediscovers her own gut creativity and takes her destiny in hand, somewhat like the Grimm's fairy tale "The young girl with no hands". It is always the heroines who have their hands cut off, never the heroes: an expression of feminine creativity stemmed by patriarchal culture. Agostino, in teaching her about perspective, reveals to her not just a new form of freedom, but also another way of using her body. In giving herself over to this anatomical quest she discovers sexual desire. What interested me, was to work on that upsurge of disturbing feelings which accompany awakening sexuality and which can result in artistic creation. Brutally, in an almost unconscious way; she discovers love and the reality of sex on the road of artistic apprenticeship, and is utterly transformed." (Agnès Merlet)

Full credits (10)

Executive Producer :

Patrice Haddad

Director of Photography :

Benoît Delhomme

Press Attaché (film) :

Laurence Granec

Sound Editor :

Pierre Choukroun

Costume designer :

Dominique Borg

Screenwriters :

Agnès Merlet, Christine Miller

Sound Recordist :

François Waledisch

Editor :

Guy Lecorne

Production Designer :

Antonello Gelleng

Still Photographer :

Umberto Montiroli

Technical details

Feature film

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Production language :


Coproducer countries :

France, Germany, Italy

Original French-language productions :


Nationality :

Majority French (France, Germany, Italy)

Production year :


French release :


Runtime :

1 h 38 min

Current status :


Visa number :


Visa issue date :


Approval :


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Posters (3)


Festival Selections (2)

Cesar Awards - French film industry awards - 1998

Cesar Awards - French film industry awards (France, 1998)

Selection (2)

Best Costume Design : Dominique Borg

Best Cinematography : Benoît Delhomme

Acapulco French Film Festival - 1997

Acapulco French Film Festival (Mexico, 1997)


French Feature Films