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A Feature film by Agnès Merlet

Produced by Première Heure

Release in France : 10/09/1997


    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...

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    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 :

    Orange Studio

    Box Office: Total results

    Box office: Timeline

    International releases (22)

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    TV Broadcasts: Cumulative total

    TV broadcasts: details by country


    "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

    Screenwriters :

    Agnès Merlet, Christine Miller

    Press Attaché (film) :

    Laurence Granec

    Sound Editor :

    Pierre Choukroun

    Costume designer :

    Dominique Borg

    Sound Recordist :

    François Waledisch

    Director of Photography :

    Benoît Delhomme

    Editor :

    Guy Lecorne

    Production Designer :

    Antonello Gelleng

    Still Photographer :

    Umberto Montiroli

    Technical details

    Feature film

    Genres :


    Sub-genre :

    Biopic, Drama, Romance

    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 :


    Production formats :


    Color type :


    Aspect ratio :


    Posters (3)


    Selections (2)

    Cesar Awards - French film industry awards - 1998

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

    Selection (2)

    Best Cinematography : Benoît Delhomme

    Best Costume Design : Dominique Borg

    Acapulco French Film Festival - 1997

    Acapulco French Film Festival (Mexico, 1997)


    French Feature Films