Violette Leduc: In Pursuit of Love
Violette Leduc La Chasse à L’amour

DIRECTOR: Esther Hoffenberg

Expected to attend: Director Esther Hoffenberg In 1964, Violette Leduc’s taboo-breaking memoir, The Bastard, became an enormous literary success in France. After decades of toiling in obscurity, the outsider writer, who would go on to publish the lesbian classic Therese and Isabelle, had finally earned some long-sought recognition. Director Esther Hoffenberg uses archival footage, interviews with friends and scholars, and the author’s own words to convey the impact of Leduc’s books and sketch the controversial woman behind them.

There is no question that Leduc was a difficult person (see this year’s fabulous biopic Violette, also at Frameline38, if you have any lingering doubts). She confesses to an interviewer constant feelings of persecution and she was, in fact, briefly confined to a clinic due to supposed paranoiac tendencies. Was she truly unbalanced, or was societal prejudice against a woman who aggressively demanded her due the deciding factor? As one scholar notes, a literary double standard hindered Leduc’s career. Publisher Gallimard had no problem with the erotic work of Jean Genet but insisted that Leduc cut a lesbian episode and a graphic account of an abortion from one of her books. Small wonder that when asked to define “indecency” she replies promptly, “Hypocrisy.” With this film, viewers have a rare opportunity to rediscover the work of one of lesbian literature’s giants.

— Monica Nolan

In French with English subtitles.

AT&T Audience Award Text Voting Code: D329

Co-presented by:
Alliance Française de San Francisco
James C. Hormel Gay & Lesbian Center of San Francisco Public Library

Sponsor: United Airlines

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