I watched Mme. Bovary in French.

20 Jul

That’s right!  It wasn’t until I got the movie home from the library and popped it in the DVD player that I realized this 1991 version of Flaubert’s classic is in French!

I admit it was difficult for me to watch a film version of a book I did not enjoy.  At times I even watched the movie in fast forward, quickly reading the subtitled dialogue as is flashed on the screen.

The movie begins with Charles Bovary attending to the broken leg of Emma’s father.  It skips Charles’ years of schooling and the first Mme Charles Bovary entirely.  While brief the wedding scene did include the violinist leading the people through a field and gave a close up of Charles cutting the amazingly constructed wedding cake.

Having watched other movies made from classic novels, I know that changes are always made.  Scenes are shortened.  Directors choose to be dramatic.  Parts are missing or moved.  This retelling of the book was relatively faithful.  I noticed several times where actors quoted lines directly from Flaubert’s text.  There is a narrator whose voice shares Emma’s thoughts with the viewer.  A glimpse of Emma with white arsenic powder all over her face was disturbing. The ending is most definitely shortened which I did not mind.

In fact, my middle child watched the last few minutes of the movie with me (in fast forward).  We talked a little bit about how I had not enjoyed the movie version any more than I had enjoyed the novel.  He asked if I had bought a copy of the book to read.  I replied, “Yes.”  He commented, “That’s too bad.  You’ll probably never read it again, like you would Moby-Dick.”  At my guffaw, he insisted, “Mom, you would Moby-Dick again.  Right?”

Would you read Moby-Dick again?
Would you read Madame Bovary again?
What are you thoughts about novels turned into movies?


Posted by on July 20, 2012 in Madame Bovary


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3 responses to “I watched Mme. Bovary in French.

  1. Adriana @ Classical Quest

    July 20, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    I would definitely reread PORTIONS of Moby-Dick.
    Madame B, no.

    • Christine

      July 24, 2012 at 11:33 am

      I’m with you on the portions of MD: the first few chapters and the last few chapters.

  2. Christina Joy

    July 24, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    I agree, Moby-Dick has reread potential, Madame Bovary is doubtful. I don’t really feel like watching that movie, either. I can’t handle dismal if I don’t see a redeeming factor in the awfulness, and I never was able to come up with solidly believable good reason for MB.


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