The Loving Servant

The Loving Servant" is a keenly involving, unabridged performance for the camera of a 1752 Carlo Goldoni play first staged by the Comedie-Francaise in December '92. Vet educator and critic Jean Douchet has captured the essence of a 2-hour evening of outstanding theater awash with contemporary resonance. For highbrow tube slots, intelligently lensed pic would make a dandy companion piece to Frederick Wiseman's recent docu on the Comedie-Francaise.

With:
Coraline ... Catherine Hiegel Brighella ... Alain Pralon Beatrice ... Claire Vernet Pantalon ... Nicolas Silberg Ottavio ... Jacques Sereys Florindo ... Jean-Yves Dubois Lelio ... Jean-Philippe Puymartin Rosaura ... Anne Kessler Harlequin ... Philippe Torreton

The Loving Servant” is a keenly involving, unabridged performance for the camera of a 1752 Carlo Goldoni play first staged by the Comedie-Francaise in December ’92. Vet educator and critic Jean Douchet has captured the essence of a 2-hour evening of outstanding theater awash with contemporary resonance. For highbrow tube slots, intelligently lensed pic would make a dandy companion piece to Frederick Wiseman’s recent docu on the Comedie-Francaise.

Renowned legit thesp Catherine Hiegel gives an understated and riveting perf as Coraline, the title servant, a widow who leaves the employ of her elderly master, Ottavio (Jacques Sereys), to look after Ottavio’s virtuous grown son, Florindo (Jean-Yves Dubois). Ottavio’s conniving second wife, Beatrice (Claire Vernet), has forced Florindo to leave the family home and subsist on a miserable allowance. Beatrice wants her doddering hubby to rewrite his will in favor of Lelio, her dunce of a son.

In an era and a society in which a woman’s reputation and honor reign supreme , Coraline lives chastely with Florindo, braving gossip. Meanwhile, she puts into place an elaborate plan that will reveal Beatrice’s scheming to Ottavio, secure a bride for Florindo and restore her own perilous reputation.

It’s a thoroughly engaging, deeply feminist play that’s been freshly translated into direct, easily grasped language. The narrative’s contemporary relevance stems from the fact that every character has a hidden agenda, which makes for appealingly hard-edged mirth.

The talented cast also includes Philippe Torreton currently onscreen as the lead in Bertrand Tavernier’s “Captain Conan” as the rambunctious Harlequin, the play’s classically comic role.

For reasons of sound quality and camera placement, director Jacques Lassalle’s production (which ran for 100 sold-out performances during 15 months, and won the 1993 Moliere award for best play) was reprised on a specially re-created stage in a film studio. Original lighting, sets and blocking were respected, but helmer Douchet has rethought the presentation to achieve something that is richer than mere “filmed theater,” reveling in the artifice of the legit stage.

The Loving Servant

(FRENCH)

Production: An Action Gitanes release of a Les Films de l'Estran, SFP Prods., La Sept/Arte, La Comedie-Francaise production, with participation of CNC. (International sales: Les Films de l'Estran, Paris.) Produced by Jacques Petat. Co-producers, Arlette Guedj, Gabrielle Babin Gugenheim, Olivier Giel. Directed by Jean Douchet, from the play "La serva amorosa" by Carlo Goldoni, as translated by Ginette Herry and directed for the Comedie-Francaise by Jacques Lassalle. Camera (color), Paco Wiser; editor, Anne-Marie Rochas; music, Jean-Charles Capon; production design, Jacques Bataille; art direction/costume design, Rudy Sabounghi; sound, Georges Prat; assistant director, Didier Andre. Reviewed at Grand Action Cinema, Paris, Nov. 4, 1996. Running time: 166 MIN.

With: Coraline ... Catherine Hiegel Brighella ... Alain Pralon Beatrice ... Claire Vernet Pantalon ... Nicolas Silberg Ottavio ... Jacques Sereys Florindo ... Jean-Yves Dubois Lelio ... Jean-Philippe Puymartin Rosaura ... Anne Kessler Harlequin ... Philippe Torreton

More Film

  • Rupert Murdoch

    Fox Founder Rupert Murdoch Insists Disney Deal Is Not a 'Retreat'

    The Loving Servant” is a keenly involving, unabridged performance for the camera of a 1752 Carlo Goldoni play first staged by the Comedie-Francaise in December ’92. Vet educator and critic Jean Douchet has captured the essence of a 2-hour evening of outstanding theater awash with contemporary resonance. For highbrow tube slots, intelligently lensed pic would […]

  • 'Father Figures' film premiere

    'Father Figures' Premiere Raises Funds for Southern California Wildfire Victims

    The Loving Servant” is a keenly involving, unabridged performance for the camera of a 1752 Carlo Goldoni play first staged by the Comedie-Francaise in December ’92. Vet educator and critic Jean Douchet has captured the essence of a 2-hour evening of outstanding theater awash with contemporary resonance. For highbrow tube slots, intelligently lensed pic would […]

  • Carrie Fisher Star Wars

    Fox Merges With Disney: The Storied Studio's 102-Year History

    The Loving Servant” is a keenly involving, unabridged performance for the camera of a 1752 Carlo Goldoni play first staged by the Comedie-Francaise in December ’92. Vet educator and critic Jean Douchet has captured the essence of a 2-hour evening of outstanding theater awash with contemporary resonance. For highbrow tube slots, intelligently lensed pic would […]

  • 'Bright' film premiere

    Will Smith Discusses 'Bright's' Racial, Social, Allegorical Undertones

    The Loving Servant” is a keenly involving, unabridged performance for the camera of a 1752 Carlo Goldoni play first staged by the Comedie-Francaise in December ’92. Vet educator and critic Jean Douchet has captured the essence of a 2-hour evening of outstanding theater awash with contemporary resonance. For highbrow tube slots, intelligently lensed pic would […]

  • ‘Hunting Season’ Takes Top Prize at

    ‘Hunting Season’ Takes Top Prize at Macao Festival

    The Loving Servant” is a keenly involving, unabridged performance for the camera of a 1752 Carlo Goldoni play first staged by the Comedie-Francaise in December ’92. Vet educator and critic Jean Douchet has captured the essence of a 2-hour evening of outstanding theater awash with contemporary resonance. For highbrow tube slots, intelligently lensed pic would […]

  • Bob Iger Rupert Murdoch

    Disney-Fox Will Be Global Powerhouse, Especially in Asia and Europe

    The Loving Servant” is a keenly involving, unabridged performance for the camera of a 1752 Carlo Goldoni play first staged by the Comedie-Francaise in December ’92. Vet educator and critic Jean Douchet has captured the essence of a 2-hour evening of outstanding theater awash with contemporary resonance. For highbrow tube slots, intelligently lensed pic would […]

  • X Men avengers potential teamup Disney

    Fantastic Four, X-Men Can Team With Avengers Thanks to Fox, Disney Deal

    The Loving Servant” is a keenly involving, unabridged performance for the camera of a 1752 Carlo Goldoni play first staged by the Comedie-Francaise in December ’92. Vet educator and critic Jean Douchet has captured the essence of a 2-hour evening of outstanding theater awash with contemporary resonance. For highbrow tube slots, intelligently lensed pic would […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content