At a stage performance of Alexandre Dumas fils’ celebrated novel Camille, an old man reflects on the events which provided the inspiration for the story. He is Plessis, the father of Alphonsine, a celebrated courtesan who died five years ago from tuberculosis.
A country girl, Alphonsine was sold by her father to a neighbour before escaping to Paris to make a living as a seamstress and prostitute. The wealthy Count Stackelberg adopts her after the death of his own daughter, and then she marries the Count Perregaux. When she separates from her husband, Alphonsine returns to Paris and resumes her career as a prostitute, in spite of her declining health.
This sumptuous period drama from acclaimed Italian director Mauro Bolognini recounts the life of Alphonsine Plessis, the famous Parisian prostitute who was the inspiration for Alexandre Dumas’ novel Camille and Guiseppi Verdi’s opera La Traviata. Isabelle Huppert plays the leading role with delicacy and sensitivity, portraying Alphonsine as a vulnerable waif-like character who is constantly tormented by her ill health and her voracious sexual appetite. (filmsdefrance.com)
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