A Woman's Life

From the novel by Guy de Maupassant.

LOGLINE: Love, Disillusionment.

1910. A young girl's expectations of romantic bliss are destroyed when she marries a philanderer with darkness in his soul but when he finally seeks redemption, he pays with his life and his wife is left broken and in despair, until years later when their wayward and beloved son , at last returns home.



1910. FRANCE. A young man - LOUIS - enters a brothel. He takes a 'girl' upstairs, gets carried away and draws blood. Ejected, he declares he has "no idea what happened".


Soon he meets a beautiful girl. VIOLA. They seem a perfect match and marry.  At their wedding, Louis is visited by the representative of an irate husband and warned off. Later, Viola is horrified by Louis’ rough manner in bed but on honeymoon, he becomes the gentle lover she believes him to be as they share a perfect romance.


Returning home,  despite the continuing presence of Viola's parents, life changes for the worse. Louis has taken to the bottle and his mood becomes melancholic and forbidding.


Months later ROSALIE, the un-married maid, gives birth to a baby boy. She will not name the father, so the baby is found a home with a local family.


One night after that, during a period of marital harmony, Viola goes to Louis’ room, where she finds Rosalie and Louis in bed. Running into the night snow, she is only just saved by Louis, before throwing herself over a cliff. She contracts pneumonia but when she recovers, her family will not believe her story. Rosalie is confronted and confesses. Louis is the father of her child. Rosalie is instantly dismissed.


Soon, Viola herself gives birth to a boy - HECTOR. In the face of Louis’ treachery, she decides to devote her life to her son.


One day Viola realizes that Louis and her closest friend are having an affair. She will ignore it but the woman’s husband discovers the truth and takes his revenge on the embracing couple. No one will ever know that Louis was ending the relationship, in a final effort to devote himself to his family.


Before long, both her parents are dead. Viola is alone in the world. Her son, now fully grown, has married a prostitute. She only hears from him when he needs money.


One day a woman arrives whom Viola does not recognize. It is Rosalie. Viola's spirits are raised for the first time in years as Rosalie moves back into the house and they re-build their lives together.


Hector’s wife dies in childbirth and full harmony is restored when Hector and his new baby finally return.


The film ends when we discover the source of a voice-over, which intermittently accompanies our story. It is Viola in 1959, now an old woman, surrounded by her now large and very contented family.


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