Blanche (film)

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German title Blanche
Original title Blanche
Country of production France
original language French
Publishing year 1971
length 92 minutes
Director Walerian Borowczyk
script Walerian Borowczyk
production Philippe d'Argila, Dominique Duvergé
music Compositions from the 13th century
camera Guy Durban
cut Charles Bretine Oak

Blanche is a visually original drama based on the drama Mazepa (1839) by the Polish poet Juliusz Słowacki . His compatriot Walerian Borowczyk realized it as a French production in 1971, where he was responsible for the direction, screenplay, dialogues, sets and costumes.


In medieval France: An old baron lives in a castle with his young wife Blanche and his son from his first marriage. One day the king arrives with his page Bartolomeo and his entourage and is hospitably received by the baron.

Immediately upon arrival, the amorous Bartolomeo Blanche makes his love oaths; on the first night the king tried to get into Blanche's chamber, disguised as Bartolomeo. The king's son also confesses his love to her. The three men advertise more and more violently, always hidden from the others, for the steadfast Blanche. The baron, who nevertheless feels horned, ultimately plunges everyone into misery with his maddened jealousy ...


The narrative pace is, adapted to the time of the plot, rather leisurely, without this reducing the tension. Borowczyk puts less emphasis on the figure drawing than on the carefully composed camera settings, the equipment and their lighting. He takes up motifs and the light of classical painting. His focus on image design goes back to his training as a painter and graphic artist.


The world of Blanche is similar to Borowczyk's previous Goto, Island of Love , “ a world in which humanity and beauty are destined never to come together. “The images of the castle and landscape contrast with the dark character of most of the figures. Like the island in Goto , the castle and its immediate surroundings are a self-contained topos; Significantly, a despatch from the king to his regiments does not reach the addressees. The castle is full of deceptive objects that have a secret behind them. In this room, in which Blanche is practically the only woman among numerous men, strong erotic tension builds up. The men obey laws of honor, which are difficult to understand today, and strive to shift the consequences of their instinctual actions onto others. Borowczyk, later notorious as an erotomaniac, only briefly presents Blanche naked in an innocent bath scene at the beginning. In keeping with her name (French for white ), she turns out to be a faithful and pious wife; but despite her reticent behavior, she too comes under the wheels of intrigue, since none of the men gives her a role other than that of the coveted object. The narrative slowly changes from a farce to a drama. Although his jealousy and fear for his honor drag everyone down with him, the baron - the respected Michel Simon in one of his last roles - is a pitiful person who has nothing more to gain, but much to lose.

Classification in Borowczyk's work

A recurring theme of the better among Borowczyk's works is the impossibility, which women especially encounter, to live out sexuality in a self-determined manner and to the desired extent. Blanche has a lot in common with his emotional drama Story of a Sin (1975), where a woman - even if she acts much more actively - finds her ruin in the ruthless game of men. In both works, Borowczyk presents the constellation of feelings, while in the films made in between and afterwards he focuses on the erotic.

The actress who played Blanche, Ligia Branice from Poland , was married to Borowczyk and appeared in many of his films.

Reviews and awards

When Blanche appeared , the film magazine Positif said it was lagging behind his first film, Goto , because feelings were diffused among several people and historical distance inhibited realism. The work represents a stagnation in the development of the director. The actors are excellent, however. Michel Simon goes mad, and Georges Wilson as king reminds us that self-importance can also be an art. Other reviews discover a "splendid, refined film in which the cruel intrigue contrasts with the simple beauty of the staging," or "images of classic rigor and a work of impressive beauty."

Blanche received the Interfilm Grand Prix at the Berlin International Film Festival in 1972 .



  • Sight and Sound, Winter 1971/72, pp. 33–34 (English)
  • Positif, No. 138, May 1972, pp. 70-71 (French)

Individual evidence

  1. Sight and Sound, 1971/72 Winter, pp. 33–34
  2. a b c d e Positif, No. 138, May 1972, pp. 70-71
  3. Jean Tulard : Guide des films. Laffont, Paris 2005. 6th edition. 2-221-10451-X, Volume 1, p. 384
  4. Blanche. In: Lexicon of International Films . Film service , accessed February 15, 2017 .Template: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used 

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