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Lady Chatterley

English literature is sexier in French film
By PEG ALOI  |  July 11, 2007
3.5 3.5 Stars
LADY CHATTERLEY: Genuinely, stunningly erotic.

Pascale Ferran’s bucolic, sumptuous adaptation of D.H. Lawrence’s John Thomas and Lady Jane (a second draft of what would become Lady Chatterley’s Lover) proves that English literature is sexier in French. Marina Hands (César winner for Best Actress) is Constance Chatterley, dutiful wife to Lord Clifford (Hippolyte Girardot), who’s been left crippled and embittered by war injuries. Ordered by her doctor to get some fresh air, Constance visits the forest environs of estate gamekeeper Oliver Parkin (Jean-Louis Coulloc’h, a rustic ringer for Brando). Charmed by the flora and fauna she’d taken for granted, Constance is drawn to gruff, gentle Oliver, and a passionate affair ensues. Playing down Lawrence’s issues of class and sexual high-handedness, Ferran focuses on metaphors of seasonal change and sensual awakenings in nature, paying homage to Lawrence by way of Thomas Hardy, with subdued colors, organic montages, and tasteful close-ups. Hands and Coulloc’h are marvelous together, their nearly wordless love scenes genuinely, stunningly erotic.
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