ⓘ Fidelity (film)
Fidelity is a 2000 French drama film written and directed by Andrzej Zulawski and starring Sophie Marceau, Pascal Greggory, and Guillaume Canet. Based on Madame de La Fayettes seventeenth century novel La Princesse de Cleves, the film is about a talented photographer who lands a lucrative job in Paris with a scandal-mongering tabloid and becomes romantically involved with an eccentric childrens book publisher while resisting the sexual advances of another photographer. Filmed on location in Paris, Fidelity received the Cabourg Romantic Film Festival Award for Best Actress and the Golden Swann Award.
Talented Canadian photographer Clelia Sophie Marceau lands a lucrative job in Paris with a tabloid called La Verite run by scandal-mongerer Rupert MacRoi Michel Subor. Clelias mother once dated MacRoi years ago while working as a cabaret singer. Once she became pregnant with Clelia, she stopped seeing MacRoi and married Clelias father. Accompanying her daughter to Paris, she tells Clelia that her strongest principle was honour, and encourages her to get married and settle down.
In Paris Clelia gives a television interview and talks about her two successful books of photography: a "study of absence" showing empty streets and deserted landscapes, and a study of fashion models without showing their faces. While walking the Paris streets taking photographs, Clelia meets Cleve Pascal Greggory, a bumbling middle-aged childrens book publisher who is preparing to marry MacRois wealthy daughter to bolster his flagging publishing house. Cleve is immediately attracted to Clelia and invites her back to his office where they make love. Afterwards, she meets Cleves brother Bernard, a Catholic bishop, and their father.
At the La Verite offices, Clelia finds most of her co-workers to be disillusioned and perverse - all knowing that they "earn their keep on dirt." At her first assignment covering a hockey team that MacRoi recently purchased, Clelia finds herself in the teams locker room surrounded by naked players celebrating their victory. MacRoi is there and after teasing her about her taking photos of the naked players asks if shell join his family for a dinner party. Before she leaves, Clelia has sex with one of the players.
At MacRois dinner party, Cleve loudly declares his love for Clelia before his entire family, including his fiance, Genievre MacRoi, the sister of Rupert MacRoi. Genievre responds by calling off their wedding and hitting him. Later that evening, following MacRois announcement of the purchase of Cleves publishing company, Cleves father collapses and dies while his son and Clelia look on. Cleve asks Clelia never to leave him. At the funeral, Cleve confides in Clelia his fears that MacRoi will not respect his familys publishing house now that he owns it, saying, "He massacres all that is upright and inneficient, delicate and noble." Soon after, Clelia and her mother move into Cleves house. He gives her his mothers engagement ring. In bed she reads lines from a W. H. Auden poem, "This like a dream keeps other time, and daytime is the loss of this, for time is inches and the hearts changes, where ghost has haunted lost and wanted. But this was never a ghosts endeavor, nor finished this, was ghost at ease, and till it pass love shall not near the sweetness here nor sorrow take his endless look."
Clelias first portfolio of photos for La Verite creates a sensation and she is congratulated by her colleagues - all except Nemo Guillaume Canet, a sexy young photographer who promptly propositions her upon their first encounter. In spite of her sexual attraction to Nemo, Clelia marries Cleve in a ceremony marred somewhat by the presence of La Verite photographers and reporters, including Nemo. After the wedding, Nemo leaves his girlfriend, Ina Edea Darcque, a former African princess and Parisian prostitute whom he met investigating the illegal organ trade. He delivers his wedding photos to Clelias home, handing them to her mother. Upset at the intrusion, and suspecting her daughter is having an affair, Clelias mother collapses and soon dies.
Nemo continues to follow Clelia, even taking photos of her in her house making love to her husband. Later she learns that Nemo was given this assignment by MacRoi who is looking to find dirt on Cleve. Although she continues to see Nemo, Clelia resolutely keeps to her wedding vows in the face of her suitors continued advances. She travels by train to Normandy to attend a motorcycle event in which Nemo is a participant. During the race Nemo crashes, and Clelia rushes to his side, revealing her feelings for him. At the celebration afterwards, Nemo gets drunk and loud, talking about his investigation into the illegal organ trade and the shady International characters involved. Later that night he and Clelia take the train back to Paris together.
After Nemo is attacked by a gang hired by the illegal organ traffickers, Clelia asks him to show her the world he is investigating - a dark world of brutal human fighting to the death. Throughout their time together, Nemo continues his advances toward her, but Clelia resists. When she returns to her home, Cleve is convinced she is having an affair, despite her promises that shes never lied to him and will never be unfaithful to him. After learning that his brother the bishop has run off with a married woman, Cleve says he will join his brother in Plougastel-Daoulas in Brittany at The Happy Inn. After they make love Cleve writes on the bathroom mirror, "Oh but what worm am I the victim of that you then unabashed did what I never wished confessed another love and I submissive, felt unwanted and went out?" After he leaves, Clelia calls the offices of La Verite to inform them of Bishop Bernards "love-nest" in Brittany, and soon the scandal erupts in the news. Clelia watches the television coverage of his public humiliation. Cleve does not return to his wife, and after sleeping with a transvestite prostitute, he calls La Verite asking that they track his wife who he believes is two-timing him.
Meanwhile, Clelia comes to Nemos house, where assassins hired by the organ traffickers blast the place with gunfire, but Nemo and Clelia are able to defend themselves and escape. Soon after, Clelia attends a publicity session with MacRoi and a new partner. MacRoi presents Nemo with a new expensive motorcycle for his work covering Clelia. During the session, assassins again attempt to kill Nemo, and during the attack both Nemo and Cleve are injured. MacRoi is killed by a shard of glass in his eye. After the funeral, MacRois daughter reorganizes the company, intending to continue the scandal-mongering. She also fires Clelia, who later begs her husband to come back to her, but he will not reconsider. On their way out of the building he falls down a flight of steps and dies on the way to the hospital, with Clelia at his side. At the funeral she avoids Nemos advances and leaves Paris. Sometime later, Nemo is interviewed on television and talks about his new portfolio dedicated to Clelia, who has disappeared.
A few years later, while taking photographs in a monastery, Clelia by chance sees the beginning of an English-language MacRoi Production film called The Princess of Cleve about her life, directed by Nemo. She laughs as she discovers Nemos first name, Fernand, revealed in the opening credits. Before leaving the monastery, she places her wedding rings on a tree branch, while the ghost of her late husband looks on. Clelia can only say, "Forgive me." He smiles and retrieves the rings while she weeps.
2. Awards and nominations
- 2000 International Steadicam Award for Best Steadicam Shot Adam Rozanski Won
- 2000 Cabourg Romantic Film Festival Award for Best Actress Sophie Marceau Won
- 2000 Cabourg Romantic Film Festival Golden Swann Award Andrzej Zulawski Won